Most people are well aware of the fact that there are millions and millions of miles worth of fiber optic cables buried underground that are used to transmit data at incredibly fast speeds. However, did you know that there are also million and millions of miles worth of fiber optic cables buried underground that aren’t being used at all right now? These so-called “dark” fibers aren’t serving much of a purpose outside of being used for testing. However, researchers at the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab believe they may have found a good use for them moving forward.
The researchers are hoping that these “dark” fibers can be used to sense sound waves deep under the surface of the earth. These sound waves often signal that earthquakes are taking place. By tapping into the “dark” fibers, the researchers think they’ll be able to measure the movements made by the earth’s crust a lot more accurately than they can now with seismic detectors. It could potentially change the way that scientists study earthquakes forever.
The technology that has been developed to use “dark” fibers to measure earthquakes is still being researched. But researchers think they’ll be able to use something called “distributed acoustic sensing” to take advantage of the “dark” fibers. This type of technology relies on laser pulses to detect any vibrations that take place within fibers during an earthquake. It will, in theory at least, be able to figure out where seismic activity took place and how much of an effect it had on the earth.
Additional research still needs to be done before scientists can start using “dark” fibers on a regular basis to gather information about earthquakes. Nevertheless, it illustrates another way in which fiber optic cables could have a big impact on the world. It’s an impact that we understand well at Connected Fiber. We provide fiber optic services to those who need them and can help you do everything from install a fiber optic network to make emergency repairs on fiber optic cables. Call us at 910-443-0532 today to schedule services.