Friendly little rivalry we've got here, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Generally, no real ill will, save the occasional football-related stabbing.
And good thing, that. Scientists are now saying that the big yellow ball in the sky has tricked us, into believing it is our salvation. In fact, the sun is plotting against us, and might some day soon pitch both godforsaken states back into the Dark Ages.
We will then only survive if we learn to barter medical supplies (ours) for cheese (theirs); turkey giblets for Vince Lombardi trophies; high-sugar cereals for stylish, comfortable clothes that won't break the bank.
You may prepare for this MinnSconsin post-apocalypse by reading this not-at-all sensational story from ScienceAlert (ALERT!), which explains the risk of a "catastrophic geomagnetic storm" that starts on the sun, but is so massive, it'd do very bad things here on the Earth.
A particularly powerful solar ejection could potentially send us back to the Dark Ages for months or even years by causing widespread power outages around the planet, with a damage bill estimated to be as high as U.S. $2.6 trillion.
Happy hour would be postponed indefinitely.
Thankfully, the sort of sun storm we're talking about is fairly rare: The last really big one hit in 1989, knocking out power for 6 million people across the Quebec province for nine hours. Major events such as that one are largely unstudied, because scientists didn't have the tools to study them -- and regular people didn't notice that their electricity went out, because they didn't have it in the first place.
But the most likely place(s) in America to get whacked with the next one are Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which recently studied factors that contribute to elevated risk to American power grids. As northerly states, we're closer to one of the planet's magnetic poles; another factor increasing an area's risk is what sort of rock it's sitting on.
As explained in the original study published in Geophysical Research Letters:
"[I]n the Archean-Superior province of northern Minnesota (MN), ancient faults and suture zones have resulted in the juxtaposition of volcanic and intrusive rocks against metasedimentary rocks [e.g., Van Schmus and Hinze, 1985]. Impedances (at 240 s) for this region correspond to conductivities that span 3 orders of magnitude: from 10−4 S/m to 10−1 S/m [Bedrosian and Love, 2015, Figure 6], and induced geoelectric vectors can have widely different amplitudes from one site to another and be strongly polarized and oriented at acute and obtuse angles relative to the inducing geomagnetic vector [Bedrosian and Love, 2015]. When these properties are observed across a range of frequencies, and they often are, they indicate a 3-D subsurface conductivity structure."
Translation: Start building a bunker, motherfuckers.
This graphic shows which areas the research determined to be most likely to be by affected, with red dots indicating highest risk, followed by black dots. As you'll see, the only red dots on the map are in northern Minnesota, and there aren't many black dots to be found outside our two completely screwed territories.
The huge white spaces covering chunks of the country are blamed on a lack of project funding, and one researcher Jeffrey Love says it's especially important the team get the money to complete a study of the Northeast: "Hello, that's where a lot of people live."
Yeah, well, plenty of them live right here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, too.
And we're preparing for the longest blackout of all time, stockpiling rice, unpolluted lake water, winter jackets, cornmeal, and passive aggressive compliments about our neighbors.
- What's Wrong with Wisconsin?
- KSTP's Dave Dahl: Sun, not man, changes climate
- Global warming will make Minnesota look more like Missouri, U of M prof says
- Local weatherman doesn't know which way the wind blows on global warming
- MNGOP leader Kurt Daudt suggests today's freezing temps mean global warming is a myth