Vol.1, No.4, 294-297 (200
Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/HEALTH/
9) Health
Heliogeophysical factors as possible triggers of suicide
terroristic acts
Pavel Grigoryev1, Vsevolod Rozanov3, Alexander Vaiserman2, Boris Vladimirskiy4
1Tavrida Humanitarian Ecological Institute, Simferopol, Ukraine; 33946@mail.ru
2Institute of Gerontology, Kiev, Ukraine; vaiserman@geront.kiev.ua
3Odessa National Mechnikov University, Odessa, Ukraine; roz anov @te. net .ua
4Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Nauchniy, Ukraine; bvlad@yandex.ru
Received 25 September 2009; revised 3 November 2009; accepted 5 November 2009.
Using data on suicide terroristic attacks in Israel,
Iraq and Afghanistan (1062 cases 1994-2008) it
was found that certain patterns of heliogeo-
physical factors were similar in all countries
studied, and typically accompanied such acts.
Geomagnetic activity significantly increased
(p<0.0001) at the day of attack and at the next
day following attack. Interplanetary magnetic
field polarity tends to change at the day before
attack (p<0.03) and at the day after attack
Keywords: Heliogeophysical Factors; Geomanetic
Activity; Interplanetary Magnetic Field; Suicide
Terroristic Attacks
Variable Solar processes (flares, plasma, alternating
magnetic fields etc.) have an essential influence on the
parameters of the environment by the interaction with
the Earth sheaths (magnetosphere, ionosphere, tropo-
sphere etc.) [1,2]. As shown in literature [3,4], the geo-
magnetic disturbances and changes of interplanetary
magnetic field polarity (caused by crossing by the Earth
of the interplanetary magnetic field sector boundaries) are
biologically effective heliogeophysical events. Depend-
ing on the level of geomagnetic disturbance, the power
of alternating magnetic fields in the frequency range of
10-4-10 Hz may vary between 0-500 nTl globally.
Following the classical work of Alexander Thiz-
hevskiy [5], it is commonly recognized, that heliogeo-
physical factors may promote social perturbances by
influencing the mental state of people. Terrorism cur-
rently is a global challenge. Its prevention becomes a
significant interdisciplinary problem. In our previous
research, it was found that international terroristic activ-
ity and heliogeophysical parameters have the same
rhythmic structure in range from 2 days to 30 years [6].
The criminal activity in different regions of the former
USSR correlated with fluctuations of Ap-index of geo-
magnetic variations [7]. A synchronism was found in the
crimes of serial maniacs in USA and Russia. The major-
ity of such crimes coincided with the increases in geo-
magnetic activity [8]. Over many years, significant re-
sults were received by M. Mikulecky [9]. Using his-
torical data consisting of two time series concerning
revolutions in Europe and China, and of eight time series
from activities in science and arts registered from five
geographic areas, it was found that revolutions culmi-
nated near to Solar maxima, while cultural flourishing is
usually shown distinctly near to Solar minima. In an-
other research, it was proved that the numbers of armed
conflicts for the first half of the twentieth century were
moderately associated with the global geomagnetic ac-
tivity of the same year [10]. In extensive research [11],
the occurrence of an approximate 10-year periodicity of
the creative activity in West-European and Chinese
painting, poetry and science in the period from 1400 to
1800 is shown. As a rule, the peaks of creative work in
China align with those in West Europe.
However, influence of heliogeophysical factors on
suicide terror attacks has never been demonstrated pre-
To address this subject, we examined daily Solar activity
(Sunspot Numbers), global geomagnetic activity
(C9-index), interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) polarity
at interval of ±5 days near the date of attack (zero day)
using the superposed epoch method [12]. To reduce the
possible influence of long-term large-scale variations of
heliogeophysical factors, each segment of ±5 days’ data
was standardized: mean value was subtracted from ini-
tial data termwise, and the result divided by standard
P. Grigoryev et al. / HEALTH 1 (2009) 294-297
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/HEALTH/
-5 -4-3 -2 -10+1 +2 +3 +4 +5
-0. 05
time corresponding to the attacks (zero day)
standartized variations of C9-index of geomagnetic activity
standard error of mean
mean for 1062 cases
Figure 1. Changes in geomagnetic activity at interval ±5 days near the day of sui-
cidal terror attack (zero day). 1062 cases are combined. Horizontal axis: time (days).
Vertical axis: variations of C9-index of geomagnetic activity.
-5 -4 -3 -2 -10+1 +2+3+4 +5
time corresponding to the attacks (zero day)
standartized variations of interplanetary magnetic field polarity
standard error of mean
mean for 1062 cases
Figure 2. Changes in IMF polarity at interval ±5 days near the day of suicidal
terror attack (zero day). 1062 cases are combined. Horizontal axis: time (days).
Vertical axis: variations of C9-index of geomagnetic activity.
deviation. Statistical significance of tendencies in helio-
geophysical factors near the day of attack was calculated
using Wilcoxon criterion.
The data on suicide terror attacks during 1994-2008 in
Israel (n=133), Iraq (n=843) and Afghanistan (n=86)
were obtained using public sources from Israel Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and Memorial Institute for the Pre-
vention of Terrorism (USA).
No significant associations were found with Solar activ-
ity. However, in combined cohort (1062 cases) geomag-
netic activity significantly increased (p<0.0001 by Wil-
coxon criterion for unpaired groups) at the day of attack
and the day after attack (i.e. 0 and +1 days) comparing
with other days (Figure 1).
P. Grigoryev et al. / HEALTH 1 (2009) 294-297
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/HEALTH/
IMF polarity tends to change at the day before attack
(–1 day) comparing with the values in the previous day
(p<0.03 by Wilcoxon criterion for paired groups) and at
the day after (+1 day) comparing with the values in the
previous day (p<0.007) (Figure 2).
These patterns in geomagnetic activity and IMF polar-
ity are similar in all regions studied. It can be assumed
that geomagnetic variations can have an influence on a
readiness to perpetrate a suicidal terror attack possibly
by influencing personal suicidal tendencies of the terror-
ist. Moreover, recent studies support the idea that suicide
terrorism and general suicidality may have some com-
mon underpinning biological and psychological mecha-
nisms [13,14].
Changes in natural electromagnetic and acoustic
waves (through the action of heliogeophysical factors)
affect all physiological systems of organism: brain func-
tioning [15], cardiovascular system [16,17], blood cells
properties [18] etc. Moreover, biological rhythms of or-
ganism are synchronized not only by social and seasonal
factors, but also by the quasi-periodical changes in helio-
geophysical factors [19]. It may cause the correlation of
psychic state with a geomagnetic activity. For example,
in many experimental series, even among healthy indi-
viduals it was shown that reports of diminished pleas-
antness significantly correlate with the level of global
geomagnetic activity [20]. There is also a positive rela-
tion between level of aggression in rats and geomagnetic
activity [21]. In our recent study, the levels of aggression,
well-being, anxiety and general motivation and activity
were daily self-diagnosed and reported during Febru-
ary-April 2008 by 17 healthy volunteers. Significant
increase of anxiety and worse well-being was observed
at the time of geomagnetic disturbances and increase of
anxiety and aggression at the time of changes in IMF
polarity [22].
Among the possible physiological mechanisms of
triggering influence of geomagnetic activity on a psychic
state are: inverse relation of melatonin with a geomag-
netic activity [23], redundant synchronization of brain
electric activity in a temporal cortex playing an impor-
tant role in the mechanisms of emotions [24], and in-
crease of adrenalin concentration in blood [25] that may
influence the level of aggression. Disturbances in acous-
tic noise of extremely low frequencies (infrasound) also
substantially correlate with the level of geomagnetic
disturbance [26]. The psychotropic influence of infra-
sound is well-known and confirmed through experiments:
it causes nervous petulance, increase of pulse rate and a
general condition of intensive anxiety [27] as well as
negative influence on the state of circulatory system [28].
Changes in the interplanetary magnetic field polarity
also could have an adverse influence upon the nervous
system and other physiological systems of organism [29,
30], probably due to “Pc1” micropulsations of geomag-
netic field, which are presented in the environment ex-
actly when interplanetary magnetic field polarity is
changing [31]. It was shown that Pc1 micropulsations
are detrimental to health [32].
In spite of the fact that some terrorist attacks are
scheduled beforehand on a definite date, a number of
attacks allow various degrees of freedom in choosing an
exact time by design of terrorist, because psychologi-
cally an attack is an action of individual even if the ter-
rorist belongs to group or sect [33]. Terrorists often hap-
pen to be excitable psychopaths; most of them are in
condition of chronic emotional stress [34]. It means that
an essential part of terroristic attacks may be launched
by the spontaneous changes in psychic state of terrorist,
which can be influenced by the heliogeophysical factors,
playing the role of the “last drop”. This supposition is
supported by results of independent observations: the
geomagnetic disturbances stimulate exacerbation of de-
pression at psychiatric patients [34]; suicides rates rise
after increases in geomagnetic activity [35,36].
It may be hypothesized that while the majority of suicide
terror attacks are planned within some time-frame,
changes of mental state and actualization of personal
suicidal tendencies may contribute to determination of
the exact date of realization of the terroristic act. Par-
ticular changes in the ambient electromagnetic and
acoustical signals caused by heliogeophysical factors
could promote the exacerbation of mental state and act
as a trigger for launching of the suicidal-terroristic be-
haviour. In the majority of cases, geomagnetic distur-
bances and changes in interplanetary field polarity are
well forecasted. So, it is possible to predict the intervals
of time when a terroristic threat is higher than in aver-
Project is partly supported by the Ukrainian Fundamental Researches
State Fund grant F28/02-030.
[1] Akasofu, S.I. and Chapman, S. (1972) Solar and Terres-
trial Physics, London: Oxford University Press.
[2] Cherry, N. (2002) Schumann Resonances, a plausible
biophysical mechanism for the human health effects of
Solar/Geomagnetic Activity, Natural Hazards, 26,
[3] Breus, T.K., Komarov, F.I. and Rapoport, S.I. (2005)
Medical effects of geomagnetic storms, Klin. Med.
(Mosk ), 83(3), 4-12. (in Russian).
[4] Nikolaev, Iu.S., Rudakov, Ia.Ia., Mansurov, S.M. and
Mansurova, L.G. (1982) Sectoral structure of the inter-
P. Grigoryev et al. / HEALTH 1 (2009) 294-297
SciRes Copyright © 2009 http://www.scirp.org/journal/HEALTH/ Openly accessible at
planetary magnetic field and disturbances of central
nervous system activity, Probl. Kosm. Biol., 43, 51-59.
(in Russian).
[5] Tchijevsky, A.L. (1971) Physical factors of the historical
process, Cycles, 22, 11-27.
[6] Grigoryev, P.E. and Vladimirskiy, B.M. (2006) Helio-
geophysical effects on frequency of acts of terrorism,
Proceedings of an International Scientific workshop
“Space weather: effects on human health and biological
systems”. Moscow, February 17-18, 2005, 97-100.
[7] Avdonina, E.N. and Samovichev, E.G. (1995) Some
heliogeophysical characteristics of a series of especially
dangerous crimes, Biofizika, 40 (5) , 1060-1063. (in Rus-
[8] Kitaev, N.N. and Parkhomov, V.A. (2001) About possible
correlation of actions of serial sexual maniacs with the
heliogeophysical factors, Bull. IGEA, 3 (28), 49-57. (in
[9] Mikulecky, M. (2007) Solar activity, revolutions and
cultural prime in the history of mankind, Neuro. Endo-
crinol. Lett., 28(6), 749-756.
[10] Persinger, M.A. (1999) Wars and increased So-
lar-geomagnetic activity: aggression or change in intras-
pecies dominance? Percept. Mot. Skills, 88, 1351-1355.
[11] Ertel, S. (1998) Cosmophysical correlation of creative
activity in the history of culture, Biofizika, 43(4),
736-741. (in Russian).
[12] Panofsky, H.A. and Brier, G.W. (1958) Some Applica-
tions of statistics to meteorology, Philadelphia: the
Pennsylvania State University.
[13] Pedahzur, A. (2005) Suicide terrorism. Polity Press,
[14] Grimland, M., Apter, A. and Kerkhof, A. (2006) The
phenomenon of suicide bombing: a review of psycho-
logical and nonpsychological factors, Crisis, 27(3),
[15] Belov, D.R., Kanunikov, I.E., and Kiselev, B.V. (1998)
Dependence of human EEG spatial synchronization on
the geomagnetic activity on the day of experiment, Ross.
Fiziol. Zh. im. I. M. Sechenova, 84(8), 761-774. (in Rus-
[16] Dimtrova, S., Stoilova, I., and Cholakov, I. (2004) Influ-
ence of local Geomagnetic Storms on Arterial Blood
Pressure, Bioelectromagnetics, 25, 408-414.
[17] Stoupel, E. (2006) Cardiac Arrhythmia and Geomagnetic
Activity, Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal,
6(1), 49-53.
[18] Gurfinkel, Y.I., Voeikov, V.L., Buravlyova, E.V. and Kon-
dakov, S.E. (2001) Effect of geomagnetic storms on the
erythrocyte sedimentation rate in ischemic patients, Crit.
Rev. Biomed. Eng., 29(1), 65-76.
[19] Brown, F.A. (1976) Evidence for external timing of bio-
logical clocks, An Introduction to Biological Rhythms.
Academic Press, New York, 209-279.
[20] Persinger, M.A. (2004) Weak-to-moderate correlations
between global geomagnetic activity and reports of di-
minished pleasantness: a nonspecific source for multiple
behavioral correlates? Percept. Mot. Skills, 98(1), 78-80.
[21] Persinger, M.A. (1997) Geomagnetic variables and be-
havior: LXXXIII. Increased geomagnetic activity and
group aggression in chronic limbic epileptic male rats,
Percept. Mot. Skills, 85 (3 Pt 2), 1376-1378.
[22] Grigoryev, P.E., Poskotinova, L.V. and Tsandekov, P.A.
(2008) Dynamics of system reaction of human organism
on heliogeophysical factors, Tavrida Med. Biol. Bulletin,
11, 124-134. (in Russian)
[23] Burch, J.B., Reif, J.S., and Yoat, M.G. (1999) Geomag-
netic disturbances are associated with reduced nocturnal
excretion of a melatonin metabolite in humans, Neuro-
science Lett., 266, 209-212.
[24] Belov, D.R., Kanunikov, I.E. and Kiselev, B.V. (1998)
Dependence of human EEG spatial synchronization on
the geomagnetic activity on the day of experiment, Ross.
Fiziol. Zh. im. I. M. Sechenova, 84(8), 761-774. (in Rus-
[25] Gmitrov, J. and Gmitrova, A. (2004) Geomagnetic Field
Effect on Cardiovascular Regulation, Bioelectromagnet-
ics, 25, 92-101.
[26] Vladimirskiy, B.M. (1982) Atmospheric infrasonics as a
possible factor transmitting the effect of Solar activity to the
biosphere, Probl. Kosm. Biol., 43, 174-179. (in Russian).
[27] Didyk, L.A., Deliukov, A.A., Gorgo, Iu.P. and Semenova,
I.A. (2000) Effect of extralow frequency variations of
atmospheric pressure on voluntary attention parameters,
Fiziol. Cheloveka, 26(4), 55-60. (in Russian).
[28] Didyk, L.A., Gorgo, Y.P., Dirckx, J.J., Bogdanov, V.B.,
Buytaert, J.A., Lysenko, V.A., Didyk, N.P., Vershygora,
A.V. and Erygina, V.T. (2008) Atmospheric pressure fluc-
tuations in the far infrasound range and emergency trans-
port events coded as circulatory system diseases, Int. J.
Biometeorol., 52(7), 553-561.
[29] Nikolaev, Iu.S., Rudakov, Ia.Ia., Mansurov, S.M. and
Mansurova, L.G. (1982) Sectoral structure of the inter-
planetary magnetic field and disturbances of central
nervous system activity, Probl Kosm Biol., 43, 51-59. (in
[30] Odintsov, V.I. and Konradov, A.A. (2005) Role of sector
structure of interplanetary magnetic field in the geomag-
netic, physical-chemical and biophysical processes, Geo-
physical Processes and Biosphere, 4(1/2), 5-18. (in Rus-
[31] Matveyeva, E.T. and Shchepetnov, R.V. (2007) Temporal
characteristics and medical aspects of Pc1 geomagnetic
pulsations, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial
Physics, 69, 1747-1752.
[32] Rapoport, S.I., Breus, T.K., Kozyreva, O.V., and Mali-
novskaia, N.K. (2006) Geomagnetic pulsations and myo-
cardial infarctions, Ter. Arkh., 78(4), 56-60. (in Russian).
[33] Yenikolopov, S.N., Yerofeyeva, L.V. and Sokovnya, I.I.
(2002) Prophylaxis of aggressive and terroristic tenden-
cies at youth. Prosveshchenie, Moscow. (in Russian).
[34] Olshanskiy, D.V. (2004) Terrorist’s psychology. Harvest,
Minsk. (in Russian).
[35] Kay, R.W. (1994) Geomagnetic Storms: Association with
Incidence of Depression as Measured by Hospital Ad-
mission, Br. J. Psychiatry, 164, 403-409.
[36] Grigoryev, P.Ye., Rozanov, V.A., Lubarskiy, A.V. and
Vaiserman, A.M. (2005) Dependence of suicidal behav-
iour from the heliogeophysical factors, Archive of Psy-
chiatry 4(43), 20-25. (in Russian).
[37] Bergiannaki, J.D., Tritakis, V.P. and Psarros, C. (1999)
Environmental and geomagnetic factors in relation to
selfdestructive ideation and behaviour, Proc. XX Congr.
IASP, Athens, 140-141.