There is a huge network of over a million kilometers of fiber optic cable present at the bottom of the earth. Around the late 1900s, government agencies and telecomunication companies began laying these cables, and today they go on for several thousand kilometers. The global network that has been set up through the years is considered the backbone of telecommunications. Scientists for a long while have been trying to find a way to use these already set up networks of cables to monitor seismicity. This would be an easy and better way to monitor the possibility of earthquakes as 70% of the globe is covered by water, making it extremely expensive to install and monitor new underwater seismometers to keep track of the movement of the earth beneath the seas. Hence, instead of putting up new infrastructure, it would be much better if the one that is already present could be used.
Researchers have finally developed a method with which the already existing cables can be used to detect earthquakes. This is a considerable development in Submarine Optical Fiber Cable Market as this new technique could lead to the improved earthquake and tsunami warning systems worldwide. The newly developed method will successfully be able to convert the majority of submarine cables into geophysical sensors, which in turn would be able to predict natural calamities like tsunami and earthquakes.
This concept is the first to monitor seismicity on the ocean floor possible, wherein its implementation will be feasible. It would complement the existing network of seismometers present on the ground and tsunami-monitoring buoys and will make it possible for earthquakes and tsunamis to be detected much quicker, saving many lives.
Seismometers present on the ground are not easy to monitor as there are several types of disturbances such as lightning or change in temperatures that occur. This can result in changes happening in the polarization of light traveling through fiber optic cables. This is because the temperature in the deep ocean usually remains constant. Hence, as there are few disturbances , the change in polarization from one end of the curie table to the other remains stable through time. However, if there is the presence of an earthquake or when a storm produces large ocean waves, then, in that case, polarization changes suddenly. This dramatic change helps researchers in identifying the calamity even by looking at the data.
At present, the identification of earthquakes occurring just miles offshore take minutes, and a longer time is needed for any tsunamis to be verified. The new technique would use a cable, and it will act as a single sensor for even hard-to-monitor locations. With its help, polarization can be measured 20 times per second. This means that if an earthquake strikes close to a particular area, a warning could be received by the affected areas in a matter of seconds.
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