Seismologists at Caltech working with optics experts at Google have developed a method to use existing underwater telecommunication cables to detect earthquakes. The technique could lead to improved earthquake and tsunami warning systems around the world.
A vast network of more than a million kilometers of fiber optic cable lies at the bottom of Earth’s oceans. In the 1980s, telecommunication companies and governments began laying these cables, each of which can span thousands of kilometers. Today, the global network is considered the backbone of international telecommunications.