Seismologists use dark fiber to detect undersea earthquakes

ITEM: Researchers say they’ve worked out a potential new use case for the thousands of kilometers of dark fiber crisscrossing the ocean floors – detecting undersea earthquakes and undiscovered fault lines. They accomplished this with a technique called “distributed acoustic sensing”, in which laser pulses are beamed through the fiber and analyzed to detect physical movement of the actual cable. The idea of using existing fiber to detect quakes has been around for awhile. Another study earlier this year from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab also reported success with the distributed acoustic sensing technique. According to Gizmodo, this matters because the distributed acoustic sensing technique requires placing actual sensors (dubbed “interrogators”) along the cable to measure the laser pulses.

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