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Your fiber optic cables can sense earthquakes

The idea of using fiber optics to monitor earthquakes isn’t new—scientists have long known that imperfections in the cables can indicate how and when the cables move in response to seismic events, by altering the flow of light. Now, new research suggests that such detectors don’t need to be protected by cement casing, as they are now. That opens up the tantalizing possibility that previously existing fiber optic cable networks can be used to monitor and anticipate earthquakes, IEEE Spectrum reports. If the technique can be applied to existing cables, it could provide scientists with a much cheaper way to increase the density of earthquake sensors and improve forecasting. 

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