What is EMP (Electromagnetic pulse)

In today’s world we have come to depend upon all of our electronic toys.  Without them society would be in chaos, the power grid will collapse, most vehicles will stop, and computers will not function.   Most people today have no idea of what the effects of a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device would be.

An electromagnetic pulse (sometimes abbreviated EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that results from an explosion (usually from the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and/or a solar flare.  The resulting rapidly changing electric fields or magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.

In military terminology, a nuclear bomb detonated hundreds of kilometers above the Earth’s surface is known as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device. Effects of a HEMP device depend on a very large number of factors, including the altitude of the detonation, energy yield, gamma ray output, interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field, and electromagnetic shielding of targets.

The following map show the effect of a 1-2 megaton weapon detonated at different altitudes about the United States.

The following is the statement of Senator Jon Kyl after hearing witnesses on the effects of a HEMP attack on the United States

8 MARCH 2005

Last year, the EMP Commission found that EMP was one of a small
number of threats that could hold our society at risk of catastrophic
consequences. The effects of an EMP could potentially shock, damage, or
even destroy electrical systems that fall within the striking range of a nuclear
detonation. And because the United States is heavily dependent on electrical
systems to provide basic services, an EMP attack has the potential to have a
cascading effect on all aspects of American society

See also  Computer Failures, EMP and Other Infrastructure Collapses

The Commission’s report found that our infrastructure – such as
electrical power, telecommunications, energy, financial, transportation,
emergency services, water purification and delivery, and food refrigeration –
were all vulnerable to EMP attack. And in the event of an EMP attack, those
infrastructures would be rendered unusable, thus inflicting widespread
disruption or failure on a national scale. The death toll from such an attack
is almost unthinkable. Unfortunately, the House Armed Services Committee
hearing on the Commission Report occurred on the date of the release of the
9/11 Commission Report. As a result, the hearing – and the EMP Report –
received virtually no coverage.

There are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your electronics from EMP.

One is the use of a Faraday cage.  In the next few days we will post a simple design to help you protect small items.


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8 thoughts on “What is EMP (Electromagnetic pulse)”

  1. To be honest, I didn’t hear about EMP until a few weeks ago. But when I did hear about it, I started to look more into it right away. I ended up coming across a radio blog that holds a show every Wednesday. I’ve come to realize that it’s extremely informative. They have new guests on every week so you’re not hearing the same information over and over again. This week a guy named Tom Popik is going to be on it. He’s a principal author of a petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He know a lot about the Nuclear Attacks and stuff I’ve heard. If you wanna check out the blog, here’s the link: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/

    1. You can rest assured that the United States has the latest in nuclear devices designed for the most effective use of weapons possible. At Lawrence Livermore labs in California. Research goes on around the clock in development of the most innovative and devastating hardware. I would not be surprised if the United States has a counter EMP device to neutralize the effects of a hostile EMP device launched against the U.S.

      1. I would assume you are completely correct. That would be a deterrent to nation-states but very possibly not to rogue elements, such as terror groups.

  2. We do have the capability to cause EMP. The problem is we depend too much on electricity. It doesn’t take electricity to ran a camel.

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