Evidence of Enormous, 2600-Year-Old Solar Storm Found in Greenland

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 12, 2019

During that solar storm, the sun unleashed a series of powerful solar flares that were so powerful telegraph operators' offices experienced a surge in electricity which resulted in some buildings setting on fire. Researchers are able to analyze the ice to find out when Earth was hit by an unusually high concentration of high-energy cosmic rays.

Muscheler's team analysed two ice cores drilled from the Greenland ice sheet and found that both contained spikes in isotopes of beryllium and chlorine that date back to about 660BC. The new, global study, led by researchers from Lund University, used ice cores to find clues about previous solar storms. 775 and another in A.D. 994.

In a study published in PNAS, Raimund Muscheler from Sweden's Lund University and colleagues found evidence of another huge solar storm on the same scale as the one that hit in A.D.

Three solar "super storms" bigger than anything recorded in recent history have occurred in the last 3000 years, scientists have discovered. "Our event was about 10 times stronger than any high-energy event observed during the past 70 years", Muscheler told Newsweek.

The team made this observation after studying a band of radioactive elements, unleashed by a storm that struck the planet in 660 BC, preserved in the ice almost half a kilometre beneath the surface.

"Our research suggests that the risks are now underestimated". "I am sure these are recurring features of the sun, and with a systematic search we will certainly find more. We just looked at the last 3,000 years, and we certainly can get good enough data for the past 12,000 years".

While the most serious consequences for those living in 660 BC was just a stunning display or aurora borealis or australis, northern and southern lights respectively, things would be completely different for us today.

Leon Golub from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who was not involved in the research, said the findings indicate a storm far bigger than the Carrington Event and hundreds of times larger than anything recorded during the space age.

For the past 70 years, researchers have studied these solar storms by direct instrumental observations, which has led to an understanding that they can pose a risk to the electrical grid, communication systems, satellites and air traffic.

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