(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have proposed using fiber optic cables to create a vast network to monitor the entire surface of the Earth.
1.2 million kilometers of wires laid in the oceans and seas can be used in conjunction with satellites to track storms, earthquakes, ships and whales.
Monitoring can be done with sensors that can measure any cable bends caused by sound or physical waves.
To do this, a special device sends a pulse of light through an optical fiber, then precisely measures any deflection of the beam.
Thus, scientists can detect motion and determine its source by analyzing the location and strength of its curvature.
Researchers have already been able to use the technology in practice in 2020, when a team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) was able to track the whales by hearing more than 800 sounds they make through a 120-kilometer-long underwater cable. In addition, they spotted a strong storm at a distance of 13 thousand kilometers.
An argument in favor of this method is the widespread use of fiber optic cables. There are now more than 1.2 million kilometers of wires at the bottom of the oceans that are used for communication.
“This could be a game-changing global observatory in the ocean and earth sciences,” says geophysicist Martin Landre.
However, the system also has limitations. The results contain a lot of noise, which makes it more difficult to isolate the signals of interest than with seismometers.
However, satellites and other sensor devices can supplement the information received.
Landreau emphasizes that the “worldwide network” of observation will be an addition to existing methods of observation, and not a complete replacement for them.
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