Scientists turn submarine fiber optic cable into a seismograph

Researchers used existing submarine fiber optic cables as a network of seismographs to collect unique data on the tectonic activity of the Earth..

Currently, seismologists receive almost all data from instruments located on land, which is only a third of the planet’s surface. This limits the collection of information and knowledge about tectonic movements. For promotion To obtain a complete picture, sensors on the ocean floor are needed, but long-term deployment of equipment even a few kilometers from the coast is associated with maintenance and access problems.

Scientists turn submarine fiber optic cable into a seismograph

therefore a team of geophysicists from the University of California at Berkeley decided to use the existing infrastructure of the Internet’s undersea highways. Through these lines light passes, which is scattered and distorted if the cable is displaced or reoriented. By observing these changes, you can accurately determine exactly where and how much the fiber is bent..

Using distributed acoustic sensing, the researchers recorded seismic activity and its source using a 20-kilometer cable as a network of thousands of motion sensors..

Scientists turn submarine fiber optic cable into a seismograph

The information gathered in this way allowed geologists to map previously unknown faults in Monterey Bay and accurate patterns of water movement..

According to the team, the main advantage is that there is no need to install additional equipment along the entire length of the cable, it is enough to connect to its end.

Signals used for research can interfere, but scientists are already working to solve this problem.

Recall that at the beginning of the year, an experiment using 16QAM modulation made it possible to achieve a record bit rate of 26.2 TB / s over transatlantic cable owned by Facebook and Microsoft.

text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Getty Images, Helmholtz Center Potsdam

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