Scientists make seismographs for undersea fiber optic cables

scientists make seismographs for undersea fiber optic cables

The seismic activity monitoring is a crucial task. It requires several types of equipment to be available at the site, and measuring is complicated in the center of the ocean. The new research conducted from Berkeley concluded that it could turn existing undersea cables of fiber optic into a seismograph network, creating an unparalleled global view of the Earth’s movements.

Seismologists get their data from the instruments which are available on the land. It means our knowledge about seismic activity is limited. It’s a bit difficult to predict where all the faults have occurred since there is no accurate long term monitoring of the ocean floor. Mr. Nathaniel Lindsey, the lead author in Berkeley news, quoted that there is massive need for seismology of the seafloor. The use of instrumentation into the ocean, even for 50 kilometers, will be useful. The reason it is not done yet because it’s very maintained, hard to place, & access the precision instruments necessary for a tremendous seismic work under the water. Lindsey and his colleagues are pursuing an idea of alternate instrumentation techniques, concerning fiber optic cables, which are under the sea.

These fiber optic cables carry data over a long distance, sometimes they take part as the backbone of the internet, & sometimes it plays a role in the private networks. But in fiber optic cables, one thing is common that they have they use light to operate, the light that gets distorted & scattered if the cable changes orientation or shifts. By monitoring the phenomenon of “backscatter,” it can be observed where the cable bends & what to an extent, sometimes within nanometres. The researchers can examine a cable to find the source of seismic activity with a certain level of precision. This technique is named Distributed Acoustic Sensing. It treats the cable as if it were a series of several motion sensors. After linking the MBARI’s cable to DAS system, the team collected a lot of valid information. Some of that is moving from a 3.4 magnitude quake underneath, maps that are unknown and also the unmapped faults in the bay, even the movement of water patterns that is related to seismic activity. If this experiment is successful, the larger active cables could be used as research instruments and could help the seismologists to study the event & features of the ocean floor.

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