A large solar storm could knock out power to much of New England, according to a soon-to-be-released study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Bloomberg reports that a 300-million-year-old layer of rock under Interstate 95 from Richmond, Virginia to Portland, Maine could amplify solar storms, reflecting energy back upward and causing major damage to the electric grid in major metropolitan areas like Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C.
“It’s an active problem that a lot of people are trying to solve and understand,” Christopher Balch, a space scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center, told Bloomberg.
Fortunately, major geomagnetic storms typically happen only about once a century. A solar storm in 1989 shut down Quebec's power grid, leaving more than six million people without electricity for nine hours.