Of all the possible disasters we face today, an EMP or major solar storm are two of the scariest. Few truly understand how devastating they would be to our way of life. We depend on electricity and electrical devices so much that life would be set back about 100 years, technologically speaking.
Aftermath Of An EMP
An EMP occurs when a nuclear bomb is detonated high above the atmosphere. Since there is nothing to absorb the explosion and convert the energy into blast energy, it all goes out in its original form, as electromagnetic energy. Hitting the atmosphere, that energy is actually amplified, speeding towards the surface of the earth.
Upon arrival at the earth’s surface, all of that electromagnetic energy is absorbed into electrical devices, the power grid and any metal it encounters. That which hits solid-state electronic devices overloads the circuitry, destroying it. Metal can protect those devices, having the effect of a Faraday Cage, but if the electronics are exposed, the EMP will hit them with a surge of power that is too much for them to handle.
The electricity that enters the power grid will flow along the wires, reaching transformers and substations. Many of them will also become fried by the high energy burst traveling through them. But some of the energy will get through. It will then overwhelm surge protectors, destroying any electronics that managed to survive the initial surge because of being protected by metal cases.
A major solar storm would do similar damage to America (and the world), and actually did so in 1859 during what is known as the Carrington Event. It destroyed telegraph machines, the most advanced technology of the time, although Earth has dodged similar solar storms since then. A Carrington-like solar blast nearly hit Earth in 2012. (Recommended: How A Simple Solar Flare Could Doom America – And The World.)
Within seconds of either an EMP or major solar storm, all solid-state electronics and computer-controlled devices will cease working forever. However, that’s not to say that all electronic devices will die. Surprisingly, simple electronics will survive, although there won’t be any power to make them operate. (Recommended: 5 Surprising Items That Will Survive An ‘End-Of-The-World’ EMP Attack.)
Pretty much all of the infrastructure we depend upon will be destroyed. Airplanes will fall out of the sky, mid-flight. Gas pumps will stop working. The entire electrical power grid will go down. Most of us will be without water, as the pumps and water treatment plants won’t have the electrical energy they need to purify the water and get water to us. All commerce will be on a cash only basis at first, eventually morphing over to a barter system.