Fibre optic cables as sensors for seismology and volcanology

Friday June 11th 2021, h 17.00
Scuola Superiore di Catania
Online event on Microsoft Teams


Fibre optic cables as sensors for seismology and volcanology

Philippe Jousset
Helmholtz Centre GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences - Potsdam

Welcome Addresses:
Maria Rosaria Maugeri
President of the Scuola Superiore di Catania

Giorgio Riccobene
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
Laboratori Nazionali del Sud



ABSTRACT: Fibre optic cables are commonly used for data transmission, internet connection, television... In recent years, Earth Sciences benefited from the ability of the fibre glass to be sensitive to quantities such as temperature and strain, using measurements of physical interactions of light sent in fibre glass. After a brief review of optical fibre technologies of interest for Earth Sciences, I will show observations carried out in various geodynamical contexts and geological conditions, such as Iceland, Italy and Germany. Standard telecom fibres deployed for data transmission can be interrogated using Distributed Acoustic Sensing to measure distributed strain with a much higher temporal and spatial sampling than conventional sensors such as seismometers. Strain changes associated with earthquakes (attached figure), explosions from volcanoes, or even World War II remaining bombs, can be observed with unprecedented details in space and time and lead us to discover new seismological and structural features, such as hidden faults and tiny volcanic signals. Optical fibres deployed under the sea can also detect earthquakes, submarine faults, their movements and hydro-oceanic dynamics such as waves. Those examples will illustrate how fibre technologies are revolutionizing our observations and understanding of phenomena in Earth Sciences.


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