Earthquakes Can Be Detected Faster With Submarine Fiber Optic Cables

New research has suggested that with fiber optic cables used for internet access under the sea, earthquakes can be detected half an hour earlier than current methods.

A study published in the world’s leading scientific journal Nature Scientific Reports suggested that the existing fiber optic cables used to provide internet access under the sea can detect earthquakes coming from the sea half an hour earlier than current methods. It has been demonstrated that optical communication fibers, including fibers from commercial communication companies, can provide early earthquake warning system.

From HU’s Earth Sciences Institute, Dr. Itzhak Lior said, “Earthquakes that occur below the seabed or in non-sensing areas can be detected with a delay with current technologies; This prevents preparing for an earthquake. Recently, earthquakes can be tracked with fiber optic cables, including those used worldwide for internet communication. In this study, we show that optical fibers can be used instead of traditional sensors to provide early warning, especially in marine earthquakes.”

Existing solutions such as intensifying land-based seismic networks and installing wired ocean-based sensor networks are being implemented in Japan and Canada. These solutions cannot be applied worldwide due to their high cost. However, there is an alternative; converting existing fiber optic cables into dense seismic networks using new acoustic sensing technology. Using the existing fiber infrastructure will simplify and speed up the installation and operation of earthquake warning systems and shorten warning times.

Numerous earthquakes occur every year all over the world. Fortunately, most of them are weak and innocuous, but strong ones (such as the 1999 Golcuk earthquake, 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake) can cause mass disasters. While current earthquake monitoring technology can provide early warning for land-based earthquakes, sea-based earthquakes are usually detected ten seconds after they start.


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