Scientists announced this week that a massive solar storm occurred 2,700 years ago — and, if a similar one happens again, it could be devastating to the technological infrastructure across the Earth.
USA Today reported on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings indicated that a solar storm happened around 660 B.C., and that it was roughly 10 times stronger than any other known solar storm over the last 70 years.
Raimund Muscheler of Lund University in Sweden was the study's lead author. The team of researchers examined ice core samples from Greenland that were estimated to be as old as 100,000 years and found radioactive isotopes that pointed to the solar storm taking place.
Solar storms occur when solar blasts from the sun interfere with the Earth's magnetosphere. Severe storms can cause power outages and worse.
"Such events represent a threat to modern society in terms of communication and navigation systems, space technologies, and commercial aircraft operations," the study read. "Therefore, better understanding the possible magnitudes and occurrence frequency of such events is of great importance for safeguarding space technologies and modern technological infrastructure."
A solar storm last April that was the result of a massive "hole" on the Sun's surface caused northern lights earlier than normal.