JUNE 2012

Earthquakes - Main Menu

Background Information on Earthquakes

One of my areas of research through the years has been the influence of tidal forces upon the earth.   When I was an engineering coordinator for large reinforced concrete telephone buildings (before the age of miniaturization), I was concerned about an earthquake damaging newly-poured concrete.   I discovered that a certain configuration of planets using the earth as a center could stabilize the earth so that earthquakes were not likely to occur.   Using this information, I was able to schedule concrete pours at the times of relative stability.

The earth is composed of molten material for the most part with a crust that resembles the slag on a ball of hot solder.   The crust is composed of plates which rub together.   Where plates rub together, there is friction which causes the plates to freeze in place until such time that the forces which tend to move them overcome the friction, or the friction is reduced to allow the forces to move them.   The fault lines are places where one part of the crust slips against another part.   There are other places where one part of the crust moves beneath another part.

There is something called ocean-floor spreading which is caused by hot magma moving upward where there is a rupture of the crust under an ocean.   This is the engine that usually causes one part of the crust to move relative to another part of the crust.   On average ocean-floor spreading moves parts of the crust about two inches a year.   This causes pressure along fault lines in which the crust on one side of the line is attempting to move relative to the crust on the other side - or pressure which attempts to make one part of an ocean floor move under a part of continent.

If the necessary slippage occurs as the pressure begins to increase, the movement of the crust is gradual and no earthquake of any significance can occur.   However, it the friction of one part of the crust against another is sufficient to stop movement, then pressure to create movement increases to the point that eventually the friction is overcome and there is a great sudden movement that we call an earthquake.

The above is an oversimplified explanation, but sufficient to understand the principle of earthquake creation.   But there is more.   When tidal forces are operating at certain angles, the friction preventing movement of the crust is increased.   At other angles, that friction is decreased.   The tidal forces are caused by the gravity of the moon, sun, and planets.   The moon creates the greatest tides because it is closest - not just water tides, but air and land tides as well.

When the moon is precisely on the other side of the earth from the sun we call it a "full moon".   When the moon is precisely on the same side of the earth as the sun, we call it a time of "new moon" and there is no moon visible in the sky.   At both full moon and new moon the tides are greater than usual because the moon's gravity is directly in line with sun's gravity.   At full moon, the moon pulls on one side of the earth and sun pulls on the other side.   There is a tendency to pull the earth apart.   At new moon, the moon and sun pull together on one side of the earth and centrifugal force pulls on the other side.   Again, there is a tendency to pull the earth apart.

The moon's orbit around the earth is not in the same plane as the earth's orbit around the sun (called the ecliptic).   This causes the moon to have only two points in its orbit when it is passing through the ecliptic.   These points are called nodes, and are times when the moon's tidal effects are greater than usual.

The orbit of the moon is an ellipse, and has a closest point to earth (called "perigee") and a farthest point from earth (called "apogee").   When the moon as at perigee, its tidal effect is much greater than usual.

The sun is second to the moon in tidal influence on earth.   It is much larger than the moon but it is also much farther away.   The planets which have the greatest tidal effects on earth are Venus and Jupiter.

Tidal effects tend to pull the earth apart.   This reduces the friction which is preventing parts of the crust from moving relative to other parts.   Consequently, the force created by ocean-floor spreading can become dominant and slippage can occur between parts of the crust - and we have an earthquake.   If the slippage occurs after a long period of no slipping, the motion between crust parts is great and sudden.   This is what we call a "large earthquake".   If the slippage occurs after a short period of no slipping, the motion between crust parts is small and sudden.   We call the result a "small earthquake".   Greater reductions in friction occur with greater tidal effects.   These greater tidal effects usually happen less frequently than smaller tidal effects, so there is more time between them for pressure between crustal parts to increase.  

This means that greater tides are more likely to trigger large earthquakes than would smaller tides.   It does not mean that large earthquakes will always happen at a time of greater tides.   Often, there have been enough small earthquakes to reduce the pressure so that there is not sufficient energy to create a large earthquake - or the large tide is not yet large enough to allow a large earthquake to occur.

To summarize, (1) ocean-floor spreading creates the energy for an earthquake to occur, (2) the energy is stored because friction between parts of the crust prevents them from moving, (3) tidal effects reduce the friction preventing earthquakes so that times of high tides are the times when the stored energy is released in the form of an earthquake.   Generally speaking, the greatest earthquakes occur when the tides are greatest.

Background Information on Solar Flares

Most of us realize that the sun provides us with light and heat.   Many of us realize that it gives us our rain; our energy sources such as petroleum, coal, wood, and hydroelectricity.   A lot of us know that almost everything on Earth functions because of energy from the sun.   But very few of us know of the less obvious forces of the sun and how they operate.   And fewer of us know that the sun is similar to our television picture tubes, shooting out energetic particles whose patterns are influenced by subtler forces.   And what are these subtler forces?   They are the gravitational effects of the bodies about the sun, of course; the everchanging pulls of the planets.

The sun is a whirling mass of luminescent gas that is more than 100 times as great in diameter as Earth.   It is moving through space with all its attending planets and their moons at a speed of about 700,000 miles per hour.   Its mass is about 333,000 times that of our planet and this mass is so intense in its energy output that it warms us at an approximate distance of 93 million miles.

The sun provides energy in many octaves other than that of visible light.   It also provides a "solar wind" which is actually its expanding atmosphere.   It has a magnetic field which shifts periodically and may, in part, be responsible for Earth's shifting magnetic field.   The sun has a cycle of brightness based upon activity we see upon its visible surface, the photosphere.

The chromosphere of the sun is just above the photosphere, and just above the chromosphere is the sun's corona, which extends well out into space.   The sun's cycle of brightness influences the entire solar atmosphere as well as the layers just above the photosphere.   This atmosphere, which we feel as the solar wind, influences us as it moves past us.   Likewise, the solar magnetic field affects us as it shifts.

Solar flares are huge, bright eruptions from the sun's surface.   These flares may be likened to volcanoes except that they come from the sun rather than from Earth.   Both the solar wind and the solar magnetic field shift due to solar flare activity.   The solar flare activity, the solar cosmic rays, ultraviolet radiation, X-radiation, and consequent solar brightness all vary directly with sunspot activity.

A sunspot is a shallow depression in the solar surface which lies a few hundred miles below the sun's visible surface.   The bottom of the depression is not as bright as the photosphere, so it appears dark to us.   This makes it easier for astronomers to see sunspots and this is why sunspots have been monitored as a measure of solar activity for over 300 years.

The cycle of solar brightness or of sunspot activity has been found to consist of two shorter cycles which vary from nine to fourteen years in duration and average about 11.2 years between peaks.   At the beginning of a sunspot cycle, the new sunspots appear centered upon the solar latitudes of 40o north and 40o south.   As each spot appears and is replaced, the total collection of spots moves toward the solar equator and arrives there about 11 years later.   The the old collection then dies and a new collection of spots begins to appear at the 40o latitudes.   With each new 11 year cycle, the magnetic polarity of the sunspots reverses.   Thus, a full cycle is actually about 22 years long.

The last big solar flare to hit us was in 1859.   There have been 6 full 22 year cycles since that time plus 21 more years.   In 2012, we are approaching the same part of the cycle that was there in 1859.   This is too close for comfort considering the fact that 22 years is merely an average.

For more details on this flare and what it did to us, go to:

On September 1, 1859, Mercury as seen from Earth was only 8 degrees off from the sun as seen from Earth.   Venus was only 6 degrees off.   Both Mercury and Venus were becoming closer to an exact line-up with the sun, so the Earth/Mercury/Venus tidal influence on the solar surface was increasing.   Mars was off only 14 degrees, Saturn off only 18 degrees, and Jupiter off 50 degrees off a perfect alignment with the sun.   The tidal stress on the solar surface was huge compared the norm.

In an article called The First Science by Joseph F. Goodavage, MAFA, Analog, September 1962, it is stated that RCA Communications, Inc., uses heliocentric astrology to predict storms in Earth's ionosphere which affect radio communications.   These storms seem to be caused by solar flares.   The mechanism of this phenomenon is more easily seen in Scientific American, March 1986, The Earth's Magnetotail, by Edward W. Hones, Jr.   In any case, John H. Nelson of RCA has found that planets' positions either influence the sun and its sunspot activity or, at least, coincide with sunspot activity in a very suggestive manner.   It seems that planetary positions of 0o (conjunctions), 90o (squares), and 180o (oppositions) are unsettling to the sun and coincide with sunspot activity, while planetary positions of 60o (sextiles) and 120o (trines) cause our sun to be complacent.

If we examine the mathematics of gravity and tides, we find that Earth and the moon, working together, exert a gravitational force upon the sun in a manner similar to the moon's effect upon our oceans.   Saturn, large but more distant from the sun, has an approximately equal effect to Earth/moon upon the sun, yet there are differences.   Venus, closer to the sun, but the same approximate mass as Earth/moon, has half again as much influence upon the sun.   Little Mercury, considered to be the closest planet to the sun, exerts about a third of Earth/moon's gravitational influence upon the sun.   Jupiter is so massive that it has 11 times the effect of Earth/moon upon the sun - even though it is much farther away.

Although actual tidal effects upon the sun's surface are somewhat less for the more distant planets and greater for the closer ones, the general effects are greatest from Jupiter, Venus, and Earth/moon.   Due in part to lesser influence and in part to time of orbit, Mercury and Saturn act out of phase with the basic cycle so that that they become triggers and dampeners which either aid or hinder the more pronounced effects of the more influential planets mentioned.   Mars, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have negligible gravitational/tidal effects upon the sun as compared to the other planets, but they may have some fine-tuning effects that are less obvious.   After all, a ball of white-hot plasma such as the sun can be very sensitive.

If we presume that the sunspot cycles are due to the positions of the planets, shifting according to particular patterns, the most obvious cycle we can find averages 11.19 years in length, but varies slightly from one peak the next.   This cycle is caused by Earth/moon and Venus conjuncting at a time when Jupiter is either pulling on the sun at right angles to them (squaring), pulling directly opposite to them (opposing), or pulling in line with them (conjuncting).   Because of the various times for these three planets (Earth/moon, Venus, and Jupiter) to move about the sun, the proper positions for maximum stress upon the sun's surface averages once every 11.19 years.

This is analogous to the face of a clock in which Jupiter is the hour hand, Earth/moon is the minute hand, Venus is the second hand, and the sun is the center where the hands are attached.   At precisely three o'clock and nine o'clock, the hour hand is at right angles to the other two.   At precisely six o'clock, the hour hand is opposite the other two.   And at precisely twelve o'clock, all of the hands are in line.

This 11.19 year cycle varies somewhat because Mercury and Saturn do not orbit in reinforcing periods.   Instead they cause the cycle to deviate a bit.   However, this is in accord with the deviation found in the known sunspot cycle of about 11.2 years.   When one actually plots the heliocentric conjunctions, squares, and oppositions of the solar-tide-creating planets, one discovers that they do, indeed, coincide with the sunspot activity peaks and the associated solar flares.

The sunspot 11.2 year cycle, for which most astronomers still claim to find no cause, is caused by Earth/moon, Venus, and Jupiter.   Planets trigger solar flares and solar flares cause variations in the solar magnetic field and solar wind which, in turn, cause the northern and southern lights, variations in weather, and quite possibly contribute to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and variations in the human gestalt.   This is only one of many examples as to how the solar system functions as an integrated unit with each part affecting each of the other parts.

June of 2012

Quite some time ago, someone asked me what I thought of the Mayan calendar ending on December 21, 2012.   What I saw for that date when I checked the ephemeris was nothing particularly alarming.   A few months ago we saw a TV program on the Science Channel about solar flares.   A few weeks later on the History Channel we saw another program on a Venus transit which will occur in early June of 2012.   I had not bothered to look at other dates in 2012, so I checked out the Venus transit date.   What I saw caused some concern.

The solar system is like a giant organism with all the planets, the sun, and the moon interacting.   The sun is essentially a ball of plasma under high pressure, the inner planets and the moon are like balls of hot solder with slag on top, and the outer planets are big balls of gas under pressure.   All are subject to tidal effects from the others, and each seems to have a distinct resonant frequency caused by its rotation.   Insofar as the sun and the Earth are concerned, Venus and Jupiter are the most influential planets to exert tides, with Saturn and Mars next in line.   Mercury has a strong tidal influence on the sun (but not upon Earth).   Earth affects the sun and the sun affects Earth. By far the strongest tidal affect on Earth is from the moon.   The influence of the other planets on either Earth or the sun can usually be ignored in tidal calculations.

The planets move about the center of gravity of the solar system which is usually located within the solar surface.   They move in ellipses so that sometimes a planet is closer to the sun than at other times.   The affect of each planet on the sun is stronger when the planet is closer to the sun.   When a planet, the moon, or the sun is closer to Earth, there is a stronger effect upon Earth.

A Venus transit is when Earth, Venus, and the sun are perfectly aligned.   During a transit, looking through smoked glasses, one can actually see Venus crossing the sun. A Venus transit does not happen often.   The most recent ones mentioned occurred on Dec 6, 1631; Dec 4, 1639; June 5, 1761; June 3, 1769; Dec 9, 1874; Dec 6, 1882; and Jun 8, 2004.   Venus' orbit is inclined 3.4 degrees from Earth's orbit, and a transit occurs when the two orbits cross at the right time.   The right time is when a conjunction of Earth and Venus occurs at precisely the same point that the two orbital planes intersect.   There are on average about four transits of Venus every 243 years.   The first transit in a cycle is succeeded 8 Earth years later by a second.   Then there is a third 105.5 Earth years later, followed by another 8 years after that.   This is followed by a 121.5 Earth year gap.   Then the cycle repeats.

Pertinent Data - Venus Transits (using an astrological ephemeris)

The Venus transit of Dec 6, 1631, occurred when the sun and Venus were at about 15 degrees of Sagittarius, Mercury was at about 7.5 degrees of Sagittarius on the other side of the sun, Mars was at 24 degrees of Leo, Jupiter was at 9 degrees of Aries, and Saturn was at 24 degrees of Scorpio.   There was no way for me to find where the moon was at this time.   In our library, there was no record of earthquakes or solar flares at that time.

The Venus transit of Dec 4, 1639, occurred when the sun, Venus, and Mercury were at about 13 degrees of Sagittarius with Mercury on the other side of the sun, Mars was at 1 degree of Sagittarius, Jupiter at 16 degrees of Sagittarius, and Saturn at 14 degrees of Aquarius.   I had no way to find out where the moon was then.   This is a configuration which would likely cause a solar flare.   However, at the time, scientists were usually unaware of such things.   If the moon had been in a position for earthquake or volcanic activity, there would have been some.   There was no record of these in our reference material for the time.

The Venus transit of June 5, 1761, occurred when the sun and Venus were at 15 degrees of Gemini, Mercury was at 8 degrees of Taurus on the other side of the sun, Mars was at 7 degrees of Taurus, Jupiter was at 1 degree of Aries, Saturn was at 10 degrees of Aries, and the moon's position again not known to me.   We had no record of problems on Earth at the time.

The Venus transit of June 3, 1769, occurred when the sun and Venus were at 13 degrees of Gemini, Mercury was at 29 degrees of Gemini on the other side of the sun, Mars was at 27 degrees of Cancer, Jupiter at 14 degrees of Scorpio, Saturn at 17 degrees of Cancer, and the moon unknown.   We had no record of problem on Earth at this time.

The Venus transit of Dec 9, 1874, occurred when the sun and Venus were at 17 degrees of Sagittarius, Mercury was at 28 degrees of Scorpio, Mars was at 23 degrees of Libra, Jupiter at 25 degrees of Libra, Saturn at 10 degrees of Aquarius, and the moon at 17 degrees of Sagittarius (new moon).   This was an ideal time for large earthquakes and volcanic action on Earth, but we have no data on such things at this time.

The Venus transit of Dec 6, 1882, occurred when the sun and Venus were at 14 degrees of Sagittarius, Mercury was at 8 degrees of Sagittarius, Mars at 16 degress of Sagittarius, Jupiter at 28 degrees of Gemini, and Saturn at 21 degrees of Taurus.   The declinations of the sun, Venus, Mercury, and Mars were all very nearly the same (23 degrees south).   Jupiter's declination was 23 degrees north.   The moon was at 26.5 degrees of Libra just past apogee.   Although the configuration was generally favorable for problems on Earth, the moon position was not.   We could find no record of any problems here at that time.

The Venus transit of June 8, 2004, occurred when the sun and Venus were at 18 degrees of Gemini, Mercury was at 5 degrees of Gemini on the other side of the sun, Mars was at 20 degrees of Cancer, Jupiter at 11 degrees of Virgo, Saturn at 13 degrees of Cancer, and the moon at 1 degree of Pisces just past perigee at 17 degrees of Aquarius.   The only close declinations were the sun and Venus.   This was not a logical time for earthquake or volcanic action, and there was apparently very little of either.

Other Pertinent Data

The solar flare of 1859 would have occurred on Oct 12, but we can find no record of it in our reference library.   At that time there was a Mercury transit with the sun at 19 degrees of Libra.   Venus was at 22 degrees of Libra, Mars at 21 degrees of Virgo, Jupiter at 23 degrees of Cancer, and Saturn at 24 degrees of Leo.   The moon was full at 19 degrees of Aries.   We don't know the declinations.   Venus was diametrically opposite Earth and Mercury on the other side of the sun.

There are many instances of earthquakes being triggered by tidal influences and planetary resonance apparently caused by Earth's rotation period and physical characteristics.   The moon is the most influential, and there is a great difference in its effects at perigee versus its effects at apogee.   The sun is the next large influence, and Earth's distance from the sun makes a difference.   Earth has an elliptical orbit that brings it closest at one point (perihelion) and farthest at another point (aphelion).   Venus is the next largest tidal influence when it is close to Earth.   The other planets also have tidal effects, but they are much less that those from the moon, the sun, and Venus.

When I researched the planetary configurations during earthquakes and volcanic activity prior to 1960, I found that it was indeed tidal effects and resonance that triggered these natural disasters after periods of time when the fault lines did not slip and pressure could build.

The 9.0 earthquake near Sumatra in Indonesia (Dec. 26, 2004) created tidal waves up to 40 feet high which killed over 125,000 people.   This quake (the most powerful in 40 years) and the subsequent shifting of the ocean water were enough to disturb the Earth's wobble.   At this time, the earth was at perihelion (Earth at closest approach to the sun), there was a full moon (moon in line with Earth and the sun), Saturn was pulling almost directly in line with the moon.   The moon was just past apogee (farthest distance from Earth) and about 4 degrees away from the sun in its declination (north/south alignment) on the opposite side of Earth.   Venus and Mercury were on the other side of the sun from Earth.   The other planets were in relatively inconsequential positions.   The precise locations using degrees, signs of the zodiac as references, and a time of noon on Dec. 26 were: sun 5.03.43 in Capricorn, Venus 12.13 in Sagittarius, Mercury 13.06 in Sagittarius, moon 3.38.48 in Cancer, Saturn 25.21 retrograde in Cancer, Jupiter 16.44 in Libra, Mars 0.34 in Sagittarius, Uranus 3.42 in Pisces, Neptune 13.40 in Aquarius, and Pluto 22.31 in Sagittarius.

The foregoing shows conditions in which an earthquake would be most likely to occur.   Saturn, the moon, Earth, and the sun were in line on one side of the sun.   On the other side of the sun, were Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Pluto almost in line.   The moon was just past apogee so its effect was growing.   Nevertheless, the total effect was less than it could have been which means that the pressure on the fault line in favor of slipping must have been very great.   When the slip occurred, the results were devastating.

The March 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis with the epicenter near northern Japan began several days before the big one of 9.0 magnitude.   There was a new moon on March 4 and all the planets with the exceptions of Pluto and Saturn were within a 60 degree segment pulling on the earth along with the moon.   Just prior to new moon, the moon was at apogee and subsequently began to increase in its gravitational effect on the earth.   Mars, the sun, Uranus, Mercury, and Jupiter were all aligned with the moon in a segment measuring only 28 degrees wide.

Foreshocks began to occur as the moon moved toward perigee and its south node.   Apparently the foreshocks loosened the part where the epicenter occurred and the moon arrived at a point about a day and a half (25 degrees) from the south node just before the 9.0 quake occurred.   At that time, the moon was still about 7 days from perigee and still building in its tidal force.   After the 9.0 quake on the 11th, large aftershocks continued as the moon approached perigee which it would reach on the 18th.

The Problem in June of 2012

In early June of 2012, the sun and Venus will be at 16 degrees of Gemini, Mercury will be on the other side of the sun at 27 degrees of Gemini relative to earth, Mars will be 17 degrees of Virgo relative to Earth (relative to the sun, it will be much closer to Earth and Venus), Jupiter will be at 29 degrees of Taurus on the other side of the sun, Saturn will be at 23 degrees of Libra.   The outer planets are so far away from the inner solar system that their positions relative to Earth are about the same as those relative to the sun.   What we have is line-up of the moon, Earth, Venus, sun, Mercury, and Jupiter with the latter two on the opposite side of the sun.

Between June 5 and 6, the moon will be at full perigee which is the strongest point for tidal forces to act upon Earth.   The overall planetary configuration along with sun and moon is considerably greater in its tidal effects than the one on Dec. 26, 2004.   The configuration for a solar flare in June of 2011, is comparable to the configuration of 1859, but with slightly stronger influences on the sun.

The Sequence of Events, June 2012 (Using Pacific Daylight Time)

The positions of maximum influence do not occur at precisely the same time.   The likely schedule is given below:

1.   Moon at perigee between June 2 and 3.   It crosses the node at 1:39.5 PM (just past noon) Pacific Daylight Time on June 3.   It becomes full at 4:13 AM Pacific Daylight Time on the 4th.   Sometime between June 1 and early on June 4, there is likely to be a severe earthquake or severe volcanic activity on Earth.   This could be under one of the oceans and could trigger a large tsunami.   Since these things usually occur as the moon's tidal influence is becoming stronger, I cannot get any closer than that on the timing. It is possible, that enough slippage along the fault lines will have occurred to make for a less severe quake.

2.   Venus transits at about 11 AM on June 5.   Its effects will begin to be very strong beginning a couple of days or more before the actual transit.   This will add to the tidal effects on Earth that will trigger the quake or volcano.   It will also add to the tidal effect on the sun, as will the other planets involved.   By the 5th, there is likely to be large solar flare.

The Effects

Most of us know the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and calderas.   If there was any doubt of our knowledge of such things, the last two big quakes to occur would have educated us.   However, there is still ignorance regarding the effect of solar flares.

Solar flares are hot, but the specific heat in space is of little concern to us.   The flare touches us briefly and falls back.   It is the magnetic effects of the flare that create a problem.   The various degrees of the problem caused by these follow.   Bear in mind that a solar flare may miss us entirely or make a near hit on us that would have much fewer consequences than would a direct hit.

1.   The first thing that will happen if we experience a near-direct hit from a solar flare is that the satellites we placed in orbit for communication, navigation, and surveillance (or for any other purpose) will be made useless.

2.   If the solar flare is worse for us than what is mentioned above, we will lose our power grid and telephone lines.   We will have no electricity.

3.   If the hit from the flare is even worse, we will lose anything that uses transistors.   Transistors are much more sensitive than the tubes that they replaced.   They are also found in all computers such as those in our cars, trucks, airplanes, electronic appliances, and the one I am typing this on.

4.   If the worst case is experienced, the flare and the earthquakes could cause our magnetic poles to reverse.   The reversal is long overdue and is already beginning to show itself in anomalies and more rapid movement of the magnetic poles.   The latest discoveries show that a reversal can happen within a two-week period.   During such a reversal we would lose the magnetic shield that prevents us from damage by unwanted radiation from the sun and from the solar wind.

The implications of all the foregoing can be deduced and need not be mentioned here.   It is best not to consider the things that you cannot do to prepare yourself.   But do consider what you can do assuming the worst case does not happen.   Some tips for preparing yourself follow.

Prepare Yourself

Whatever you can do to be more self-sufficient should be done.   Latter Day Saints (Mormons) have been storing items for use during long periods after a catastrophe.   They might have some tips for you that are not listed here.   The international situation with rogue nations going nuclear makes it even more logical to be prepared for long periods without the usual conveniences like water, food, shelter, etc.

Have matches stored.   A fire made by friction alone can take long time to create.   If you have a way to use flint to make a fire, keep it handy.

First-aid supplies should be kept ready - things like baking soda, vitamin C crystals, aspirin, iodine, Bacitracin, Tinactin, bandages, tape, medical or physiology books, etc.

Canned and dried food should be stockpiled and provisions made for water to be available.

If you have a woodstove, keep a supply of wood for it.   If you have a stove that burns propane, keep your propane tank filled adequately.

Have blankets available for warmth in case of a heating problem and for treatment of shock victims.

Emergency radios and batteries for flashlights, emergency radios, etc. can be stored in a surplus military ammunition boxes made of metal and sealed.   Batteries should be stored in several boxes and separate from the emergency radios.   The ammo boxes act as Faraday shields.

Older vehicles are preferable to newer vehicles because they do not use computers.   Best to keep that old car or truck.

Geiger counters might be purchased and kept safe by using metal shielding.

Old refrigerators, cars, trucks, etc. are made of metal and can act as Faraday shields.   The items you wish to shield can be placed in them (including the ammo boxes that are already acting as shields).   Particles from the sun can be energetic enough to penetrate Faraday shields no matter how many you use, but lesser exposure to such particles may help.   Assuming the worst case does not occur, a couple of shields may keep things intact.   Odds are high-energy particles will not hit us unless we lose our magnetic shield during a pole shift.

It is useless to give up, but understandable if things become to overwhelming and you take a break from preparing.   Hopefully, we will survive.   If enough slippages occur before pressure can build in fault zones, there will be no big earthquake.   If the sun sends out a flare that misses us, we will not have a problem from it.

Last-Minute Precautions

A solar flare actually reaches the earth long after it is first seen.   The sun is about 93 million miles away, so it takes light about 8 minutes to reach us.   This means that we can see an oncoming solar flare 8 minutes after it forms.   The flare itself takes much longer to arrive here.   In 1859, Carrington saw the flare coming on one day, and it did not arrive until the following day.   This delay in its arrival allows us time to do some last-minute preparation.

First, unplug all your appliances, lamps, TV, radio, and anything else that you can unplug from a wall socket.   Next, turn off all your circuit breakers.   Third, unplug all you phones and your computers.   Fourth, unplug the exterior communications line into your home so that no electronic communications can enter your home.

The forgoing may keep you isolated from the huge surge in voltage that the incoming flare can cause.   When the storm is over and the damage repaired sufficiently for normal power and phone service to resume, you will still have usable electrical and electronic things in your home.   Granted, if the flare is strong enough to knock out the transformer that is outside your home (belonging to the power company) it may take from a month to several years before you have power for your home again.

You need to know when a dangerous flare is first sighted.   If you have a computer, you may go on-line to www.spaceweather.com.   It is true that the TV news agencies should tell you if such flare is on the way, but most of them today are either owned and staffed by very ignorant people or by people who do not care to find real news.   If you do not have a means to go on line, perhaps your neighbor does.   The best way to prepare is to have a "snowball" calling list like we had in the military, where one person calls several others, and each of them calls several others - and so on.   Redundancy in calling is necessary in cases like this because someone may not be at home or might forget to do his or her part.   In times like these, every neighborhood should have a "snowball" calling list.

Similar Threat

A classmate of mine has calculated that someone like Iran or China could use a single-stage, old-style missile to send up a 200 kiloton old-style atomic bomb about 125 miles offshore of either of our coasts to detonate at an altitude of about 190 miles and, thereby, take out our electrical grid for a distance of 750 miles in all directions from the the point of detonation.   The cascading effect on the rest of the grid would prevent us from having electricity in our homes and businesses for many months afterward.   Such an old weapon is not very heavy and the missile could be launched in international waters from a nondescript barge.

Some Other Information on Solar Flares

NASA Sees Second Biggest Flare of the Solar Cycle

ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2012) NASA models using data from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) have now provided more information about the two coronal mass ejections associated with the two March 6 flares.   The first is traveling faster than 1300 miles per second; the second more than 1100 miles per second.   NASA's models predict that the CMEs will impact both Earth and Mars, as well as pass by several NASA spacecraft - Messenger, Spitzer, and STEREO-B.   The models also predict that the leading edge of the first CME will reach Earth at about 1:25 AM EST on the morning of March 8 (plus or minus 7 hours).   Such a CME could result in a severe geomagnetic storm, causing aurora at low latitudes, with possible disruption to high frequency radio communication, global positioning systems (GPS), and power grids.

The sun erupted with one of the largest solar flares of this solar cycle on March 6, 2012 at 7PM EST.   This flare was categorized as an X5.4, making it the second largest flare - after an X6.9 on August 9, 2011 - since the sun's activity segued into a period of relatively low activity called solar minimum in early 2007.   The current increase in the number of X-class flares is part of the sun's normal 11-year solar cycle, during which activity on the sun ramps up to solar maximum, which is expected to peak in late 2013.

About an hour later, at 8:14 PM ET, March 6, the same region let loose an X1.3 class flare.   An X1 is 5 times smaller than an X5 flare.

These X-class flares erupted from an active region named AR 1429 that rotated into view on March 2.   Prior to this, the region had already produced numerous M-class and one X-class flare.   The region continues to rotate across the front of the sun, so the March 6 flare was more Earthward facing than the previous ones.   It triggered a temporary radio blackout on the sunlit side of Earth that interfered with radio navigation and short wave radio.

In association with these flares, the sun also expelled two significant coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are travelling faster than 600 miles a second and may arrive at Earth in the next few days.   In the meantime, the CME associated with the X-class flare from March 4 has dumped solar particles and magnetic fields into Earth's atmosphere and distorted Earth's magnetic fields, causing a moderate geomagnetic storm, rated a G2 on a scale from G1 to G5.   Such storms happen when the magnetic fields around Earth rapidly change strength and shape.   A moderate storm usually causes aurora and may interfere with high frequency radio transmission near the poles.   This storm is already dwindling, but Earth may experience another enhancement if the most recent CMEs are directed toward and impact Earth.

In addition, last night's flares have sent solar particles into Earth's atmosphere, producing a moderate solar energetic particle event, also called a solar radiation storm.   These particles have been detected by NASA's SOHO and STEREO spacecraft, and NOAA's GOES spacecraft.   At the time of writing, this storm is rated an S3 on a scale that goes up to S5.   Such storms can interfere with high frequency radio communication.

Besides the August 2011 X-class flare, the last time the sun sent out flares of this magnitude was in 2006.   There was an X6.5 on December 6, 2006 and an X9.0 on December 5, 2006.   Like the most recent events, those two flares erupted from the same region on the sun, which is a common occurrence.

Biggest solar storm in years hits, so far so good

Go to AP By Seth Borenstein | Associated Press.   Related Content:

WASHINGTON (AP) One of the strongest solar storms in years engulfed Earth early Thursday, but scientists say the planet may have lucked out.

Hours after the storm arrived, officials said were no reports of problems with power grids, satellites or other technologies that are often disrupted by solar storms.   But that still can change as the storm shakes the planet's magnetic field in ways that could disrupt technology but also spread colorful Northern Lights.   Early indications show that it is about 10 times stronger than the normal solar wind that hits Earth.

The storm started with a massive solar flare Tuesday evening and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble, scientists said.   The charged particles were expected to hit at 4 million mph (6.4 million kph).

The storm struck about 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT) in a direction that causes the least amount of problems, said Joe Kunches, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

"It's not a terribly strong event. It's a very interesting event," he said.

Forecasters can predict the speed a solar storm travels and its strength, but the north-south orientation is the wild card.   And this time, Earth got dealt a good card with a northern orientation, which is "pretty benign," Kunches said.   If it had been southern, that would have caused the most damaging technological disruption and biggest auroras.

"We're not out of the woods," Kunches said Thursday morning.   "It was a good start.   If I'm a power grid, I'm really happy so far."

But that storm orientation can and is changing, he said.

"It could flip-flop and we could end up with the strength of the storm still to come," Kunches said from the NOAA forecast center.

North American utilities so far have not reported any problems, said Kimberly Mielcarek, spokeswoman for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a consortium of electricity grid operators.

A massive cloud of charged particles can disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and global positioning services, especially in northern areas.   But the same blast can also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal.

Astronomers say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time.   And this storm, while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years of weak solar activity.

The storm is part of the sun's normal 11-year cycle, which is supposed to reach a peak next year.   Solar storms do not harm people, but they do disrupt technology.   And during the last peak around 2002, experts learned that GPS was vulnerable to solar outbursts.

Because new technology has flourished since then, scientists could discover that some new systems are also at risk, said Jeffrey Hughes, director of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling at Boston University.

The region of the sun that erupted can still send more blasts our way, Kunches said.   Another set of active sunspots is ready to aim at Earth.

"This is a big sun spot group, particularly nasty," NASA solar physicist David Hathaway said.   "Things are really twisted up and mixed up.   It keeps flaring."

Storms like this start with sun spots, Hathaway said.

Then comes an initial solar flare of subatomic particles that resemble a filament coming out of the sun.   That part from this storm hit Earth only minutes after the initial burst, bringing radio and radiation disturbances.

After that comes the coronal mass ejection, which looks like a growing bubble and takes a couple days to reach Earth.

Online: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center: www.swpc.noaa.gov.

June 1, 2012
Today, on spaceweather we see a huge coronal hole on the sun that will begin to affect us on the 5th. It will allow the solar wind to hit us, and will create magnetic storms, allowing us to see the aurora borealis. Pray that no more than that happens as Venus makes its transit on that day.

June 9, 2012
The large coronal hole rotated almost 90 degrees clockwise by June 5.   It was a tear in the corona that was long an relatively narrow.   When it rotated, it moved from being almost parallel to being almost perpendicular to the solar equator.   This allowed only a small portion to be pointed at us for very long.   We were saved this time from any serious conseqences.   The next large M class flare is predicted for June 12.   No X class flares are currently predicted.   Until at least mid-January of 2014, we should continue to monitor what is being shown on the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.   Although we may survive this cycle with no serious consequences, we should continue to ask that the power companies and other pertinent industries take steps to lessen the impact of a large solar flare on earth.   Due to our modern dependence upon the electrical grid, transistors, and computers, we are more vulnerable now than we have ever been - and it would only take one big flare to reduce us to the stone age.  

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