Google Earthquake Detection System

Google Earthquake Detection System:- Google has developed a technique to detect undersea earthquakes and tsunamis with the help of subsea fiber optic cables. Already existed equipment is present in the fiber optic system. Google Earthquake Detection System technique works across tens of thousands of kilometers where data travels as pulses of light at over two lakh kilometers per second. Fiber optic cables will detect disturbances on the seafloor. These cables carry data and the internet across continents. During transmission, light’s SOP changes when it encounters disturbance along the cable. Seismic activity can be recognized by tracking these disturbances. In this article we give you details about Google Earthquake Detection System like how its work and how its developed by Google

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How does the Google Earthquake Detection System technique work?

The subsea fiber optic cables carry data as pulses of light traveling at a rate of 204,190 kilometers per second. The pulsing light encounters distortions as it travels thousands of kilometers across the cable. At the receiving end, the light pulses are observed, and the deformations are rectified by digital signal processing. With the help of SOP (State of Polarization), Due to mechanical disturbances along the cable. seismic activity is detected. Its technique is said to complement the existing array of dedicated seismic sensors, and not replace them.

How this technique developed by Google

In the year 2019, the researchers at Google started monitoring the State of Polarization (SOP) on global submarine cables. Initially, it was observed that the SOP was fixed, even after the signal passes over 10,500 km. For a few weeks, the SOP revealed no changes indicating any seismic event. 

On January 28, 2020, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake was noted off Jamaica. This activity was recorded 1500 km far from the closest point of the cables at Google. 

After this event, many other common earthquakes were detected. On March 22, 2020, an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 was recorded on the East Pacific Rise. This time the event happened at a distance of 2000 km away from the company’s cable. A clear SOP activity was noted. On March 28, 2020, an earthquake of 4.5 magnitudes was recorded 30 km away from the company’s cable. This generated a short spike in the SOP activity. 

Google said that this technique is just a demonstration as of now and much work needs to be done to understand the seismic data generated by the SOP as it changes drastically. The data is observed based on magnitude, location, etc. and is different for different seismic activity. 

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