Over the years, there have been a number of ways developed in an attempt to figure out how it might be possible to predict landslides. One of the more recent to appear happens to utilize fiber optic cables to create something like a nervous system, or more accurately a spider web that can be monitored for vibrations to determine if a landslide is going to occur. Of course, it may not seem like much to learn to predict landslides, but actually thousands die every year because of rock falls and landslides and this is just one of many technologies that can help assist people in avoiding those problems all together.
The device that is currently used to determine problems with landslides is called an electronic inclinometer and is placed on slopes that are considered a major risk, but only notifies us when the slope’s angle is changed from what it was originally. This gives us little more than minutes to do anything about it, and that means anyone already there has no warning or time to react. This is what led to new methods being sought out.
Instead, this new system would be implanting modules of fiber optic cables all around slopes that are problematic, then as any of the soil shifts or any pressure is built into tensile strain the modules will catch it and relay it back to someone, which can give upwards of a few hours or more for action to be taken. These fiber optic modules are also far sturdier than the inclinometer, which means less damage done to them as well when a slide occurs.
This version with fiber optics was also developed after an idea about using acoustic sensors in the mountains could help determine when I slide might occur. So far, the fiber cables seem to be more effective, but scientists are still doing their best to determine what other kinds of options they have with predicting landslides to save more people.