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Thread: Not Your Father's. EMP - Why It's Different Now

  1. #1
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    Default Not Your Father's. EMP - Why It's Different Now

    I have made a point of reading/studying everything that i can get my hands on over the years regarding EMP. Maybe surprisingly to some here, it can be a controversial topic depending on who you are talking to and when/how their attitude on the subject was formed.

    I have had discussions with old "Cold Warriors" who have pooh-poohed the idea of any kind of widespread impact from EMP and claim they were taught "back in the day" that if they were close enough for EMP to have any effect that they'd have bigger and more immediate concerns to worry about.

    Now, that may very well be, for a soldier on a battle field who can see a mushroom cloud in the distance... EMP from that bomb will not travel very far and likely won't destroy much that the bomb itself didn't incinerate or crush.

    The thing is (and this is the part a lot of folks don't get) is that when we talk about EMP scenarios such as One Second After, none of the EMP pulse that we are talking about comes from the bomb itself.

    This is a huge turning point in the conversation for some folks. They thought the bomb was the source of the EMP we were talking about... that's not the case at all.

    The EMP we are talking about is a special effect that only happens when a nuke goes off above the Earth's atmosphere. The direct EMP from that bomb doesn't reach very far. But the bomb does give off a lot of gamma rays... a type of ionizing radiation that travels at the speed of light in all directions. There is a layer of the Earth's high upper atmosphere that is made up of charged molecules because they are right on the edge of space. When that tsunami of gamma rays hits that layer, it's like seeding the clouds... only what pours from the heavens isn't rain... it's a pulse of electromagnetic energy that was triggered by the bomb. Nearly everyone knows that an atom bomb is the core/trigger for every H-bomb, the same as a blasting cap is needed to set off dynamite. Well it may be a fair comment that a blasting cap can't destroy a house, and even a bundle of dynamite would likely destroy only one house... but place that bundle under the right boulder on the right hill and you can cause a landslide that could take out a small town. The charged layer of the atmosphere is that boulder and when it is triggered a huge release of energy occurs in the form of EMP.

    This is how modern exo-atmospheric EMP is fundamentally different from "back in the day" battlefield sort of EMP... it comes from the atmosphere triggered by the bomb, not the bomb itself.
    Last edited by bruss01; 05-23-2017 at 01:34 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

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    Like the star fish prime test. It maxxed out every instrument they had to measure it due to the nuke being detonated in low earth orbit.

    All it will take is one country to lob a nuke in low earth orbit, then detonate it while it is over the target area.
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    From what I understand a bomb like what happened at Hiroshima & Nagasaki don't really produce an EMP that amounts to much.
    But as 91CAVGT said, a starfish prime event, a nuke in low orbit or space, above the earth, and WHAM! You get a nasty EMP that causes a lot of power circuits to fry.

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    and what has North Korea been focusing on? The last few missiles launched have gone up to, and nearly beyond low earth orbit (95 to 1200 miles up).


    All it would take now is for China or Russia to give North Korea a megaton size nuke. By the time it was detonated, finding out who detonated it would be the least of our worries.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

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    bruss01 is correct about there being many varied opinions on the effects of an EMP or a HEMP. I am not fully convinced that it would be the "end-all" that many claim. I do speculate that in the next five or ten years we will all learn much more about the effects of these weapons. First hand knowledge you might say.
    Until then I see no point in arguing about it one way or the other because there really is very little in the way of unclassified data. Most everything we hear and assume is the truth is really speculation based on non-nuclear, non-space based tests or simulations. I freely admit that I don't what would happen if a nuke went off 250 miles above Iowa. But I doubt if it would be a good thing.

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    bruss, what do you think the effect would be on say , vehicles, not the newer vehicles that wipe your butt and warn you of dog turds when you are backing up , but older models with not so much technology, or 4 wheelers , would an EMP render them inoperable ?

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    I'm hoping my 72 Wagoneer survives one...
    "The First Gay President", L'dMAO!! "Peace can ONLY be achieved through SUPERIOR FIREPOWER, STOMPING LIBS and CARPETBOMBING"!!

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    There was a researcher on Levin TV(now CR TV) who had done the research. All it would take is 3 15kT nukes at the right altitude and coordinates to take out the entire US, and part of Mexico and Canada.
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasskeeter View Post
    I'm hoping my 72 Wagoneer survives one...
    Dang skeeter, my wife complains cause I drive a 98 chevy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post
    bruss, what do you think the effect would be on say , vehicles, not the newer vehicles that wipe your butt and warn you of dog turds when you are backing up , but older models with not so much technology, or 4 wheelers , would an EMP render them inoperable ?
    I'm not an expert but my track record on a lot of things as an educated guesser has been pretty good. Even so, we are all guessing on this one.

    I have seen some recent tests that lead me to believe that in all but a truly worst case scenario most vehicles will be mostly ok... driveable at least. Of course the down-side to that is that with all the vehicles running the fuel supply will dry up nearly overnight without the grid.

    The grid, I expect to be every bit as toast as the worst predictions. At least in the primary affected areas and it will take a long time to put it right.

    I own a '78 Scout, that is my just-in-case vehicle. I may claim to be a good guesser, but nobody's perfect.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

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