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Optical polarization–based seismic and water wave sensing on transoceanic cables

Zhan, Zhongwen and Cantono, Mattia and Kamalov, Valey and Mecozzi, Antonio and Müller, Rafael and Yin, Shuang and Castellanos, Jorge C. (2021) Optical polarization–based seismic and water wave sensing on transoceanic cables. Science, 371 (6532). pp. 931-936. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.abe6648.

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Seafloor geophysical instrumentation is challenging to deploy and maintain but critical for studying submarine earthquakes and Earth’s interior. Emerging fiber-optic sensing technologies that can leverage submarine telecommunication cables present an opportunity to fill the data gap. We successfully sensed seismic and water waves over a 10,000-kilometer-long submarine cable connecting Los Angeles, California, and Valparaiso, Chile, by monitoring the polarization of regular optical telecommunication channels. We detected multiple moderate-to-large earthquakes along the cable in the 10-millihertz to 5-hertz band. We also recorded pressure signals from ocean swells in the primary microseism band, implying the potential for tsunami sensing. Our method, because it does not require specialized equipment, laser sources, or dedicated fibers, is highly scalable for converting global submarine cables into continuous real-time earthquake and tsunami observatories.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Information ItemData
Zhan, Zhongwen0000-0002-5586-2607
Cantono, Mattia0000-0001-8619-4480
Kamalov, Valey0000-0002-5020-5499
Mecozzi, Antonio0000-0001-8730-5699
Yin, Shuang0000-0002-5384-4018
Castellanos, Jorge C.0000-0002-0103-6430
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License. Received for publication September 13, 2020. Accepted for publication January 11, 2021. We thank U. Holzle for initiating the subsea-based earthquake detection project. We thank B. Koley, V. Vusirikala, M. Salsi, M. Newland, T. Carlson, L. Bickford, S. Bhattacharya (Google LLC), M. Pan, J. Geyer (Acacia Inc.), S. Thodupunoori (Cisco Inc.), F. Santillo (Ciena Inc.), and Y. Svirko (University of Eastern Finland) for support and discussions. Earthquake information used in this study is from the U.S. Geological Survey. Z.Z. and J.C.C. are funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. A.M. is partially funded by the Italian Government through the INCIPICT project. Author contributions: Z.Z., M.C., and V.K. designed the work. M.C., V.K., and S.Y. collected the SOP data. A.M., V.K., R.M., M.C., and S.Y. conducted the analyses in optics. Z.Z., J.C., and A.M. led the work on earthquakes and ocean waves. All authors participated in the data interpretation. Z.Z., A.M., M.C., R.M., V.K., and S.Y. prepared the initial draft, and all authors critically revised and approved the manuscript. Competing interests: A U.S. patent has been filed related to this work. Data and materials availability: SOP data used in this study are openly available on (31). More information about reading and processing the data files can be obtained from the authors upon request. Seismic data at the conventional stations are from the International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks and the Global Seismic Network and downloaded through the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Innovating City Planning through Information & Communications Technologies (INCIPICT)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6532
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210225-153844866
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Official Citation:Optical polarization–based seismic and water wave sensing on transoceanic cables. BY ZHONGWEN ZHAN, MATTIA CANTONO, VALEY KAMALOV, ANTONIO MECOZZI, RAFAEL MÜLLER, SHUANG YIN, JORGE C. CASTELLANOS. Science 26 Feb 2021: Vol. 371, Issue 6532, pp. 931-936; DOI: 10.1126/science.abe6648
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108225
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:25 Feb 2021 23:45
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:10

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