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Underwater optical cables for earthquake monitoring

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FOCUS Project : Fiber Optic Cable Use for Seafloor studies of earthquake hazard and deformation

There are over 1 million kilometers of underwater fiber optic cables. This network of submarine cables is used for telecommunications. But it could be adapted for other applications.

The focus project’s scientific team proposes to use these underwater optical cables for seismological and earthquake monitoring.  By installing distributed Brillouin type sensors, it would be possible to track  all submarine movements such as deformation. The project would provide the telecommunication fiber optic cable with a dual-use. Indeed, the high sensitivity of fiber optic cables would make it possible to collect data on earthquakes that start in the middle of the ocean and are too weak to record on current seismological land and sea stations.

If the project is successful, the 70% of the surface of the earth covered with water could served as a gigantic seismological network!

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