An EMP event could render most all electrical devices in the United States useless, including the electrical components in cars and trucks.
This shows a single EMP weapon detonated at the northwest corner of Iowa at about 600 kilometers high. The blast would blanket all of the United States. Even at the margins of the United States, the blast is still 50%.
The high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of a small number of threats that has the potential to hold American society seriously at risk and might result in defeat of our military forces.
Briefly, an EMP event could render most all electrical devices in the United States useless, including the electrical components in cars and trucks. Specifically, a single nuclear weapon exploded at high altitude above the United States will interact with the Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) radiating down to the Earth and additionally create electrical currents in the Earth. EMP effects are both direct and indirect. The former are due to electromagnetic “shocking” of electronics and stressing of electrical systems, and the latter arise from the damage that “shocked” – upset, damaged, and destroyed – electronics controls then inflict on the systems in which they are embedded. The indirect effects can be even more severe than the direct effects.
The electromagnetic fields produced by weapons designed and deployed with the intent to produce EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics, and information systems upon which American society depends. Their effects on dependent systems and infrastructures could be sufficient to qualify as catastrophic to the Nation.