The great solar storm of the Vietnam War that detonated dozens of mines

Margherita Erriu Meteored Italia 4 min
solar storm vietnam war
Solar storm over the Earth’s magnetosphere.

In the midst of the Vietnam War, exactly the August 4, 1972while pilots of the United States Air Force flew over the Golfo de Beibudozens of underwater mines exploded simultaneously south of the port of Haiphong, in the North Vietnam.

The mines were recent and operational

Las naval mines they had been placed at sea by the US Navy about 3 months earlier to block supplies from reaching Vietnam. The American pilots claimed that at that time no ship was sailing in that area, so for many years the cause of this event remained a mystery.

In the midst of the Vietnam War, dozens of underwater mines exploded simultaneously south of the port of Haiphong in North Vietnam. For many years, the trigger for this event was a great mystery.

This was until an investigative team from the University of Colorado in Boulder, led by Dr. Dolores Knipp, raised the hypothesis of a possible link between the detonation of the bombs and the intense solar activity recorded during those days.

How do naval mines work?

First of all, it must be specified that the underwater mines we are talking about were naval mines with magnetic detectionthat is, mines that use an internal magnetometer to pick up the magnetic signature of ships.

In practice, sensors are capable of acquiring information about magnetic fields generated by the equipment on board ships. Even a very small alteration of the earth’s magnetic field caused by the passing of the ship is enough to trigger the detonation of the bomb.

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Here the responsible: a very intense solar storm

Dr. Knipp’s research team hypothesized that the mines were detonated by a intense solar stormactually occurred and recorded, probably comparable to the most powerful ever observedthe Carrington event of 1859.

That solar storm could be comparable to the most intense ever observed: the Carrington event of 1859.

This solar storm, upon reaching Earth, caused variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, picked up by sensors of the mines that later exploded suddenly and instantly.

In fact, many astronomical observers in those days noted an active region with numerous sunspotsthe region MR 11976. This same region, between August 2 and 4, produced a series of flares con also coronal mass emissions directed towards Earth.

The importance of further study

Powerful solar windsthat is, swarms of high-energy charged particles, reached our planet causing a violent geomagnetic storm that not only detonated mines off the coast of Vietnam, but also caused numerous problems with electrical networks and communications in North America.

After publishing her studies, Dr. Knipp invited the scientific community to carry out further studies on this and other geomagnetic storms that have not yet been sufficiently analyzed, underlining the importance of a complete and accurate understanding of these phenomena, especially in a current context in which we are so dependent on technology.

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