September 1859 Geomagnetic Storm
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Basic Information

The September 1859 Geomagnetic Storm, sometimes known as the Carrington Event, was an intense geomagnetic storm experienced on September 1 to September 2, 1859. It was caused by a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun lit up the sky like the dawn, and caused sparks to shoot out of telegraph machinery world-wide. Damage was relatively minimal (or at least restricted to a single industry), and only some telegraph operators got injured.

It is believed that if an energy storm of similar power hit us today, it would cause world-wide blackouts, destroy computers and electronics, start fires, cause a few air disasters, and take 4 to 10 years of infrastructure rebuilding to completely recover from. The food supply chain would be disrupted for months at least, as automation and transportation were offline. See Coronal Mass Ejection for further details.


Game and Story Use

  • A shocking event to light up your game set in the old west or victorian era.
    • Would be pretty easy to set up some sort of sinister secret truth behind it or supernatural cause (instead of extreme solar flare activity), as nobody alive at the time it happened truly knew the cause.
  • Transplanted to the modern era (or twenty minutes into the future), it could be a disaster that triggers societal collapse, even if just for a few years.
    • You wouldn't have to set your game in full-on After The End mode, but you could pivot to that if you wanted.
    • This would change the timelines described for Post-Apocalyptic Decay, by adding fires and wrecking machinery.
    • It wouldn't kill all that many people on its own, so if you're looking for a way to depopulate your setting, you'll need to have something else horrible happen at around the same time.
      • Fry all of the microelectronics in a developed world nation and something else horrible will happen alright. You've just turned off the supplies of food, water and electricity to millions of people that have no idea how to function without it. Depopulation is likely to be self enforcing.
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