Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Weathering the worst solar storms

The Laboratory is developing a scientific analysis about how frequently a major geomagnetic storm might strike, which regions of the country are most vulnerable, and how bad it might be.
March 15, 2017
The Laboratory is developing a scientific analysis about how frequently a major geomagnetic storm might strike, which regions of the country are most vulnerable, and how bad it might be.

The Laboratory is developing a scientific analysis about how frequently a major geomagnetic storm might strike, which regions of the country are most vulnerable, and how bad it might be.

When the last really big solar storm hit in 1921, Earth’s magnetic field funneled a wave of electrically charged particles toward the ground, where they induced a current along telegraph lines and railroad tracks, setting to telegraph offices and train stations—and the fledgling electric grid went dark. Almost a century later, today’s grid is bigger, more interconnected, and even more susceptible to a solar storm disaster. Los Alamos National Laboratory is developing a scientific analysis about how frequently a major geomagnetic storm might strike, which regions of the country are most vulnerable, and how bad it might be. This analysis is part of a plan to support electric utility companies and government regulators in taking the necessary steps to spare us all from the nightmare of days, weeks, or even months without power.​

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