What is it about?

Over 1.3 million kilometres of fibre-optic cables have been laid around the Earth's oceans, mostly to connect the internet. We have used an exciting new technique to repurpose one such cable in Svalbard, Norway, to measure vibrations in the deep infrasound acoustic frequency range at the seafloor. We describe the characteristics of these signals and deduce their origins, which include distant storms occurring in the South Atlantic Ocean a quarter of the way around the planet.

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Why is it important?

This new sensing technique is able to sense and characterise a wide range of phenomena in the ocean, from geological, oceanographic and atmospheric origins, in near real-time. This capability adds an exciting new dimension to the vision of monitoring and responsibly managing planet earth, and to the vision of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). We show that this technique can map near-surface geologic structures from shear-wave resonances and trace ocean surface waves back to their storm origins 13,000 km distant from the cable.


We believe that this sensing technique could be a valuable and game-changing addition to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and geophysical monitoring systems, expanding coverage, spatial and temporal resolution.

Kittinat Taweesintananon
Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Distributed acoustic sensing of ocean-bottom seismo-acoustics and distant storms: A case study from Svalbard, Norway, Geophysics, February 2023, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, DOI: 10.1190/geo2022-0435.1.
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