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SUBMERSE partners in Portugal register first seismic activity on DAS equipment installed in Madeira

At the end of October, a Distributed Acoustic Detection (DAS) interrogator was installed at the EMACOM Cable Landing Station in Praia Formosa, in Madeira Island, Portugal.

This marks a significant advance in the seismic monitoring capacity of the Region of Madeira and adds to the importance of foundation goals that led to the SUBMERSE project – an innovative EU-funded project which aims to utilise existing submarine cables, already used by the research and education networking community, to monitor the Earth and its systems.

The OptoDAS equipment, acquired by the Government of Madeira from Alcatel Submarine Networks, uses a fibre from the EllaLink cable to measure and record the smallest deformations along the first 50 km of optical fibre. The DAS technology makes it possible to transform communication cables into a chain of hundreds of seismic sensors spaced a few metres apart.

Due to its sensitivity, this technique can detect not only earthquakes but also the vocalisations of marine mammal, sea swells and human activities. Most importantly, with the correct monitoring systems, this information can be used for tsunami early warning or to get a quick understanding of affected areas. Certainly, it is possible to detect offshore earthquakes up to a few tenths of a second, warning before strong shaking begins.

This early result highlights the importance and the potential of the SUBMERSE project, which anticipates many more exciting developments in the future – not just for the Earth observation community but for geoscience and oceanographic communities too.

Read the full story on the SUBMERSE website 




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