Despite vast scientific efforts over many decades, prediction of earthquakes remains highly challenging. Now, a collaboration between universities and other institutions in Spain have adopted a new tool for monitoring seismic activity. Fibre optic cables installed on the seabed for communications purposes are not only able to transmit large amounts of data, but can actually at the same time serve as seismic networks for earthquake detection.
Researchers from the Institut de Ciènces del Mar (ICM) in Barcelona, from the Optics Institute (IO-CSIC), from the Alcalá University (UAH) and the Spanish National Research and Education Network RedIRIS have demonstrated the feasibility of the method for submarine communication cables that connect the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The area has a high level of seismic activity.