The Heritage Foundation explains “an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack represents one of the greatest threats imaginable—to the United States and the world. An EMP occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon of which America’s enemies are well aware.
In layman’s terms, it is an intense burst of electromagnetic energy caused by an abrupt and rapid acceleration of charged particles. This can cause all kinds of problems with electronic equpiment and devices. In some cases, it can even cause physical damage to things such as buildings, airplanes, power lines, etc.
There are three things that we know cause EMPs: a bolt of lightning, a nuclear explosion (or EMP type weapon), and solar storms.
EMPs by high altitude detonation or CMEs are caused by the release of charged particles within the Earth’s ionosphere. The ionosphere is the shell of electrons and electrically charged particles surrounding Earth. This “shell” is found from about 30 miles to 500 miles above the Earth. The size of the ionosphere can fluctuate some based on varying factors I won’t get into here.
Anyway, a huge downward surge in particles in the ionosphere would create massive electrical currents which could “short out” all sorts of electrical power grids, transformers, and other equipment dependent on electricity.
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