A Brief Introduction to EMP

A Brief Introduction to EMP

Prepography reader BlueShark recently wrote me to ask what an EMP is.  What follows is a very brief introduction to EMP and here’s a hint…it’s not the name of the latest rap star to make it big.

Simply put an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an immense charge of electricity created by a nuclear detonation exploding just above the earth’s atmosphere.  This electrical pulse will have an effect similar to a lightning strike on all electronics within a line of sight (LOS) that are not specifically shielded from EMP.  A single weapon high detonated high enough above the Earth would have LOS to most of the continental U.S. and two weapons launchable from container ships off our shores  (Atlantic & Pacific) could easily create an EMP big enough to cover the continental U.S. as well as sizable portions of Canada and Mexico.  Think of an EMP as a single event that could send the entire U.S. over a hundred years into our past…no electricity (except batteries), no electronics, no modern communications, possibly (almost) no motorized transportation.

Things to know about an EMP:

  • Lights of the U.S. at NightWill not directly harm humans unless they rely on electronic equipment for life or life support (pacemaker, or other medical equipment)
  • Normal surge protectors will likely prove ineffective due to the strength and speed of an EMP.  Specific EMP shielding is required or the use of a Faraday cage
  • The experts are divided on whether vehicles with computerized components will continue to run.  They do agree however that vehicles without computerized components (generally early 1980’s vintage or earlier) will continue to work.
  • Conductive materials like wires and pipes will likely pick up static charges from the atmosphere and start fires.  Any cord longer than 30″ is considered especially vulnerable (think about all the wiring in your home).

EMP is a man-made phenomena similar to the affect a solar storm or coronal mass ejection has on our atmosphere.  Read about the 1859 Carrington Effect and then picture that happening to our digital & wired world.  This has just been a brief introduction to EMP…I encourage you to do additional research.

For additional EMP information:

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