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The sun poses a crippling yet little-known threat to Minnesota — here's what is at stake

Minnesota is a likely and high-risk target for a crippling threat from the sun, according to a recent USGS study. That threat, called a coronal mass ejection, is a giant spray of charged particles that our sun frequently burps off its roiling, plasmatic surface. Each high-speed cloud of particles can pack the explosive energy of thousands or even millions of nuclear bombs: If they're aimed at Earth and strike it, the high-energy particles can bend and snap the magnetic field lines of our planet, trigger powerful geomagnetic storms, and randomly induce electrical currents throughout the world: Humanity first learned about geomagnetic storms the hard way during the 1859 Carrington Event.
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