Worldwide EMP Disaster


Staff member
Has anybody really ever thought about the possibility that if there were ever a bomb or other method of distributing a global EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse), literally everything in the world as we know it would cease to exist.

Now, as far as we know, a global EMP is not possible yet.. but even a strategic launch of multiple EMP's could severely damage society as we know it.

What would be effected? Well, it might be easier to list what would NOT be effected, but here goes nothing:

(no pun intended)

First off, everything electronic would no longer work. All hard drives, and any form of digital storage would be ruined. Every website would be gone, and every backup of every website would be gone. Every computer network would be gone. Every copy of every program ever created would be gone. very programming language ever created would be wiped clean from any possibly backup. Every movie ever filmed would be gone. Every track of music ever recorder would be gone. Credit cards would no longer work. If you had all of your money in a bank (as most people do), it would be completely gone, unless there was a paper record, and even then, who's going to give you your money? The bank employees who are unable to clock in due to computers all being dead... Let's see, no cell phones, no land line phones. No way to manufacture most products anymore. No way to promote these products anyway. No way to find criminals on the loose. No way to hear about any news anywhere besides word of mouth. No way to print newspapers. Basically, if a global EMP were ever released, it would be the end of the world as we know it. It would set the world back 100+ years.

It's a very interesting thing to think about though. So much has happened in the last 100 years in the world of technology. What if suddenly this was all gone, with no chance of ever getting it back without having to recreate it all?

None of us would ever see another day where technology is as advanced as it is right now.

Ok, that's my serious (yet hopefully far fetched) post for today. :)


Registered Member
You are exactly right, me and my friend was actualy talking about the the other day. Ironic? Well as we know, transformers if they blow up (the big'uns on the telephone pole), do cause a emp. alhough it only works about 25 yards radius. I'd actually like to be able to create something that would do that for a few miles. You could actually sell it to the government.

The only things electricaly working through an emp would be those with a 6" layer of lead. Lead will stop emps. :) 6" though.

Lead also stops radiation. :)
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Registered Member
I'm pretty sure that we'd have much more trouble than just that directly caused by worldwide EMPs... because, as I understand it, the only really effective way of doing that would be nuclear holocaust. EMP grenades may work in System Shock 2 or Ratchet and Clank, but the real world tech is nowhere near that clean.

Oh... and we actually wouldn't lose all recorded music. Not ALL media is magnetic or electronic... anyone want to guess what I'm talking about?


Staff member
Good point. :D So MOST music would be gone. ;)

And another thing that would be effected would would be houses without fireplaces, or without wood burning fireplaces. The winters would be horrible, and would probably send people towards the southern states.

It would be like war of the worlds.. Cars would work for a while but wouldn't easily be able to get more gas. Cars with electric starters would be no good.

I guess we only thought of the basic stuff. Losing your hard drive data at this point would be the least of your worries.

There would be global chaos.

And Spinlock, a nuke would cause far more problems than just an EMP. Right now you might be right about a nuke being the only way to globalize an EMP, but I'm sure the US will create more sophisticated EMP's soon enough. From what I've heard they already have EMP's with a several mile radius.


Registered Member
Well the farther away a emp is from its originating the less effective it is. For instance let me explain:

| Radius in Miles | Circumference | Relative Strength |

The range of deposition of gamma rays in the atmosphere is assumed to be 10 miles, which is appropriate for a 1 megaton burst at an altitude of about 10 miles. The size of the perimeter the circle of the blast grows in proportion to the radius of the circle. So the electric field strength weakens as the circle of the blast grows. By simple mathematics the electric field strength does not fall as the inverse square law, but is instead a simple inverse linear relationship.

In lamen terms:

Its sorta like a ripple in a pond, the wave height is bigger at the beginning than at the end. Compare the height as to the strength of the electric field.
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Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
Another problem I see is that it would take multiple EMP's to work. Submarines wouldn't be effected unless thery were on the surface. Also, the Earth is curved. The waves from the EMP wouldn't hold to that very well, kind of like how it's hard to get radio stations up in the mountains.