Stanford Shows How Fiber Optics Might Enable Global Quake-Warning Network

STANFORD (KPIX) — An internet of fiber optic cables beneath the Stanford College campus is doing greater than transferring knowledge — it’s a part of an earthquake monitoring community which will assist scientists implement a quake early-warning system.

Miles of fiber-optic cables have been buried underneath the Stanford campus for years. They transmit digital knowledge and Web visitors at excessive velocity to the scholars and school.

Biondo Biondi

Stanford researcher Biondo Biondi has developed a fiber-optic-cable-based mostly seismic detector. (CBS)

Geophyisics professor Biondo Biondi repurposed a few of these cables, together with an present underground community of sensors, to create a digital three-mile-lengthy, determine-eight-form subterranean seismometer.

A breakthrough got here when Biondi found that the fiber wires themselves might detect seismic vibrations.

Final yr, Prof. Biondi and graduate assistant Eileen Martin started experimenting with the fiber optic array they usually have recorded about 800 seismic occasions since then. The tremors ranged from imperceptibly-tiny to the main eight.1-magnitude Chiapas quake in Mexico final month.

Maybe probably the most promising a part of their analysis is the fiber array’s means to document the faint, quickest waves from a distant quake — referred to as P waves — which arrive earlier than the bottom begins shaking.

Might this sometime turn out to be a part of a comparatively low cost and ubiquitous earthquake early-warning system? Prof. Biondi thinks it’s potential.

“The hope for this know-how is to have giant-scale seismic observatories all over the place on the earth,” Biondi stated.

Fiber-optic networks are being put in throughout oceans and even in distant jungles — maybe in the future to develop into a part of a worldwide, glass ear all the time listening for the subsequent quake.

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