Daily Archives: May 7, 2015

Environmental Damnation 22: Natural EMPs

An EMP, or an electromagnetic pulse, is a short, typically intense, burst of electromagnetic energy that is generally disruptive, if not damaging to, electrical and electronic equipment, and high energy EMPS can even damage buildings and aircraft.

While EMP weapons are a concern, as they could be set off in a terrorist attack, naturally occurring EMPs are of a greater concern as they are often even less predictable and not preventable (whereas an EMP weapon can be prevented if the person holding it can be prevented from setting it off).

Whether one realizes it or not, a number of natural events cause EMPs:

  • lightning
    which is the most common, and well known, cause as it is known that it can fry the electrical and electronic systems of anything it hits
  • solar flares
    intense solar storms, like the one that occurred on July 23, 2012, could knock us back to the stone age; the geomagnetic storm (which occurs when a solar flare hits the earth’s atmosphere) of March 1989 collapsed the entire Hydro-Quebec electricity transmission system
  • earthquakes and volcanoes
    while not likely, an intense earthquake or massive volcanic eruption could (theoretically) cause an EMP similar to that produced by a massive (nuclear) explosion (as electrical discharges have been recorded as a result of earthquakes)

Just when you thought you understood the natural disaster risks in your supply chain, a whole new level of risk, that can decimate the information supply chain that the physical (and financial) supply chains depend on, is exposed.

When we said Procurement is Damned, we meant it!