A wide network of submarine cables that provide Internet connections around the world can also track seismic activity. Due to the vast area of the seas and oceans, the small number of available sensors cannot provide all the necessary geophysical data on a regular basis. Converting Internet cables to a network of sensors can eliminate this drawback.
In a new study, a team of scientists has already confirmed that technology can detect earthquakes and other oceanic activity, such as waves and currents. Their development can involve thousands of sensors. There is no need to change the existing infrastructure on the ocean floor!
To monitor seismic activity, the team intends to use amplifiers and repeaters that are already installed on most cables. They are located along the entire length at a distance of 45-90 km from each other and divide the cable into short segments. It is on these segments that the team relies in its research.
If the new method can be implemented, scientists will have thousands of permanent sensors that will monitor the environment in real time. Combined with the existing network based on seismometers, this can greatly expand the ability of scientists to track earthquakes.
The research team is also confident that their development can be used to observe other natural phenomena. For example, deep water currents, long-term changes in bottom temperature, etc. This is quite possible due to the high sensitivity of fiber optic cables.