Would We Have Survived?

Jason Samenow wrote an article for the Washington Post, 23 July 2014, titled How a solar storm two years ago nearly caused a catastrophe on Earth. The coronal mass ejections (CME) discussed in the article took place on 23 July 2012. It was a  near miss that some scientists say could have knocked our civilization back to the stone age.

If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces.
 

A solar storm photographed by NASA.

 

If the CME didn't miss the earth by one week it would have crippled satellite communications and severely damaged the power grid:

Analysts believe that a direct hit…could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps...
According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair...
The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general.

The way I interpret that last paragraph is that without the power grid most of us would starve to death or die of disease. Imagine a major urban center without fuel, transportation, food, clean drinking water or sanitation. That's the picture of an apocalypse.

Benjamin Dancer

Benjamin is the author of the literary thriller Patriarch Run, the first book in a series that will include Fidelityand The Story of the Boy. He also writes about parenting, education, sustainability and national security.

Benjamin works as an Advisor at a Colorado high school where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. His work with adolescents has informed his stories, which are typically themed around fatherhood and coming-of-age.

You can connect with Benjamin by signing up for his newsletter below and by participating in the conversation at his blog.