An electromagnetic pulse weapon, used to disrupt or destroy electronics, could potentially devastate large countries and lead to the death of millions of people.
China may be plotting a Pearl Harbor-style attack with some kind of EMP assault, according to one expert.
Blasts miles above the United States could potentially severely damage its electronics and telecommunications infrastructure.
What is an EMP weapon?
An electromagnetic pulse weapon, or EMP, is a "surge of energy that can be sent at high speeds throughout the sky," according to Tech Protect.
There are at least three "types of events" that can cause an EMP, according to the technology website.
An EMP shockwave can be caused by the sun, which actually happened in 1859, according to Tech Protect.
"This star casually erupts and releases a lot of energy into space," according to Tech Protect.
"Some of these events are small, others are larger, but given the fact that the sun is nearly 1.3million times bigger than the Earth, even a small-scale eruption can be dangerous for our planet."
EMP events can also be caused by nuclear attacks.
Low-yield nuclear weapons detonated in the atmosphere would create a wave of energy that fries electronic equipment and may knock out the power grid of affected countries.
Additionally, a weapon could be specifically designed to cause a destructive surge of energy.
"Luckily, such weapons are very rare and not that powerful to cause a major EMP attack, so this is less of a concern," according to Tech Protect.
How might China carry out a 'nuclear Pearl Harbor?'
The EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security states in a new report that it is "concerned about the vulnerability of our electrical grid and other critical infrastructures and the danger that it poses to our children and families."
Executive director Dr Peter Vincent Pry recently wrote that China "has long known about nuclear high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) and invested in protecting military forces and critical infrastructures from HEMP and other nuclear weapon effects during the Cold War, and continuing today."
Vincent claims that China has HEMP simulators and related programs that are "almost certainly more robust" than any in the US.
He says that "Chinese military writings are replete with references to making HEMP attacks against the United States as a means of prevailing in war."
Relations between the US and China remain frosty amid the coronavirus pandemic, which President Trump continues to blame on the East Asian country.
How do you prepare for an EMP attack?
It would be wise to stock up on batteries and canned goods if you believe an EMP attack is imminent.
People would be in the dark and without electricity if an EMP surge took place.
The power could be out for days, weeks, or months – or for years, depending on the potency of the EMP.
"Although this might sound like a dystopian sci-fi scenario, it can be entirely true," according to Tech Protect.
However, preparing for this disaster may not make a difference in the end, according to some experts.
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