Skip to content

Fiber Optic Technology for the earthquake warning

Fiber Optic Technology for earthquake warningA research team from the USA has applied FBG sensors for detecting earthquakes and creating a system for subsurface imaging with the help of fiber optic technology. The sensors were installed above an existing fiber optic cable.

According to scientists, this fiber optic system can register seismic signals produced by trains and automobiles. These signals cause changes in the fiber optics’ length from the very beginning till the very end. This fiber optic system is also known as distributed acoustic sensing or DAS.

Scientists have also installed usual high-resolution seismometers along the fiber optic cable in addition to the new DAS technology. They have aimed to compare these two methods of signal detection. In distributed acoustic sensing the fiber laser light is sent through the fiber optic cable. DAS technology measures the perturbations in the backscattered light along the whole fiber optic cable.

In fact, scientists made a conclusion that the fiber optic system is sensitive enough to detect footsteps. The other research team from one of the US universities proved that fiber optic technology can provide data about street traffic and demonstrated the results of the lockdown 2020. The fiber optic system could locate vibrations from cars and pedestrians above and demonstrated that the pedestrian traffic almost disappeared in April and stayed almost the same in June.

However, according to this scientific research, the fiber optic cable can even detect the jet airplanes that fly by. The scientific work was much easier because DAS systems are easy-to-install devices in comparison with the traditional methods. Scientists just needed to use a single fiber optic cable instead of thousands of geophones to detect ground vibration. Researchers got the same information using fiber optic technology faster. The DAS system continuously monitors the modifications in the fiber optics’ length down to changes in the length of less than 1 nanometer.

Thanks to the DAS technology the research team will calculate the velocity structure in the subsurface by measuring the strain changes. The velocity is a crucial factor in the determination of how the ground and civil infrastructure may respond to an earthquake.

Thanks to the new fiber optic technology, scientists and engineers are going to improve velocity and ground motion models in urban areas by collecting more information. Moreover, they hope to find a better understanding of the seismic risks and assess the resilience of our infrastructure.

Besides, the research team has a plan to spread this fiber optic technology for a vast territory to develop a better early-warning system for earthquakes. This is a totally new way of thinking about monitoring and designing for earthquakes that can give people time to get to shelter.

Optromix is a DAS system manufacturer that provides top-of-the-line distributed acoustic sensing systems suitable for monitoring commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DAS system, please contact us at