You may not need an extensive network of detectors and sensors to detect earthquakes in the future, as optical lines of communication and internet access could do the same thing.
Researchers have developed a technology that detects seismic activity through vibrations that line the optical fibers. Special optical detectors (Laser interrogators) detect the disturbances in the fiber and send information about the magnitude and direction of the vibrations. The system will not only be able to detect different types of seismic vibrations (and therefore determine the severity of the threat), but will also detect very small or local earthquakes that could go unnoticed.
Fiber optic detection technology is not entirely new. It used to be used as an "acoustic" sensor, placing the optical fibers in cement, on a surface or in any other way that could be ensured that they came in contact with the ground, so that they could detect signal fluctuations.
This is not necessary with the new method, as scientists can use the existing fiber lines inside the plastic tubes. So if it is necessary to develop a series of seismic sensors in an area, this technology will allow the use of existing optical fibers, which means that it will be much easier and cheaper to apply.
But there are also many challenges to make it a reality.
The new technology is limited by the size of the existing fiber optic network, and this is a problem for rural areas with very little to no fiber.
The research was carried out on a relatively modest, 3-mile circular course around Stanford University. Perhaps the prospect of a network of sensors in an entire city with existing infrastructure, and much more in the countryside or in the whole country operating as a single sensor, is discouraging.
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However, with the new technology, it could become much more accessible and easy to detect earthquakes than to start installing new classic ones. detectors and would even provide additional information as well as more detection accuracy, which is not possible with the old technology.