Scientists spy on Mount Etna with fiberoptic cables

Researchers detect volcanic activity by watching light move through a cable. Enlarged. / Buried fiber optic cables at Etna’s Summit pick up subtle volcanic activity. Volcanic activity improves early warning systems. Etna’s summit towers over a million humans. Hundreds of sensors dot Etna’s flanks, and for a good reason: it’s one of the most thoroughly watched volcanoes on Earth. Etna erupts periodically, spewing lava and huge clouds of ash.

Scientists have found a way to listen to what volcanos are saying by tapping into the dark fibers of the internet. Using this method, scientists can detect volcanic tremors before any human beings do. These tremors come from the ground moving, and they can be detected by listening to the vibrations of the earth. Scientists can then warn humans about impending eruptions.

Fiber optic cables are used to transmit information over long distances. Scientists use lasers to detect disturbances in fiber optic cables. Disturbances in fiber optic cables cause a return signal that travels faster than the original signal. Researchers can then calculate how far away the disturbance was.

Scientists use optical fibers to measure how many people are walking around. When there are fewer people walking around, the frequency of footsteps decreases. Cars drive faster when more cars are driving around.

This new research centers on the idea of digging a 3/4 mile long ditch less than a foot wide and burying your own fiber optic cable.

In this picture, we can see how the fiber optic cable was situated, its 2 branches outlined in white and gray. (the red and yellow lines are fault). The dots running along the cables are spots where the scientists used conventional sensors, like seismometer, which uses pendulums to detect motion, and geophone, which converts ground movement into electrical signals.Because these sensors and the cable was colocated at those spots, the researchers could compare how different techniques were monitoring activity..

A volcano erupts and causes an earthquake. The strain rate of the cable increases as the volcano erupts. The strain rate of a cable depends on how much it stretches or compresses. This information could be used to predict earthquakes.

There is a dark vertical line at C671, which means there is a change in the density and velocity of the ground. This affects the way the DAS reads the earthquake.


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