Raging Sun Blew Up Dozens of US Naval Mines During Vietnam War

Raging Sun Blew Up Dozens of US Naval Mines During Vietnam War

The weapons had been planted there as part of Operation Pocket Money, a USA plan to block North Vietnam from maritime trade during the Vietnam War, and they were supposed to detonate in the presence of ships.

On August 4, 1972, dozens of mines seemed to spontaneously explode off the waters of Hon La, Vietnam.

Scientists from the University of Colorado have since this theory after the Navy report was declassified. No doubt, the more reliant we are on technology, the more vulnerable we become to these extreme solar events.

Magnetic radiation from giant solar storms caused the sudden and almost instantaneous detonation of dozens of sea mines in Vietnam in the 1970s, research has confirmed.

The sea mines deployed had a self-destruct feature. Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Bernard Clarey raised the idea that solar activity could have been behind the premature detonations.

This development led the US Navy brass to speculate that the detonations might've been caused by "magnetic perturbations of solar storms", as numerous mines deployed in that area were created to detonate when they detected changes in the magnetic field, and solar storms can cause significant magnetic field fluctuations.

Solar activity was then well known to cause magnetic field changes, but it wasn't clear whether or not the Sun could cause these unintentional detonations.

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The Carrington Event is believed to be the largest solar storm ever recorded which, in 1859, hit Earth.

Between August 2 and 4, sunspot region MR 11976 shot out a series of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and clouds of charged particles (which were called "plasma drivers" back in the 1970s).

As part of its investigation, the U.S. military sent officials to the Space Environment Laboratory at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) near Boulder, Colorado.

Brian said he had later quizzed Wally on what was going on, and Wally explained they were concerned about geomagnetic field changes triggering sea mines laid in Hai Phong, North Vietnam.

The storms of early August 1972 were no different. During the Carrington Event, which is named after Richard Carrington, the British astronomer who first realized that solar activity could cause geomagnetic disruptions on Earth, "northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile", writes Richard A. Lovett of National Geographic. On August 4 and 5, 1972, American and Canadian power companies reported power disruptions that ranged from minor to severe, and there were telephone and telegraph outages on a cable connecting IL and Iowa. The solar wind normally takes two to three days to reach Earth. However, a thorough analysis of the environment and space condition during that day revealed that a powerful solar storm might have caused the mines to detonate.

The Dst index, measured in nano-Tesla (nT), is a typical measure of the disturbance level in the Earth's magnetic field - the more negative, the more intense the storm. The scientists claim that the storm deserves a review from the scientific community as it provides "space‐age terrestrial observations" of what appears to be a Carrington‐class storm. Read the original article.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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