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This is Scientific American ― 60-Second Science. I'm Julia Rosen.
Got a minute?
When an earthquake hits or a volcano erupts,
scientists traditionally record the shaking using a specially designed instrument called a seismometer.
These sensors are extremely sensitive, but they're also expensive and distributed unevenly around the world.
So scientists are working on another strategy to monitor earthquakes:
using fiber-optic cables―like the ones that form the backbone of the internet.
"So the motions are very clear.
Specifically, you can see the arrival of different bits of the seismic energy from the location at which the earthquake occurred.
So the p wave and the s wave, and the different phases that move out from the site of rupture in the earth, are used by seismologists to locate the event.
And so we can detect the important pieces of information above the noise using the fiber optic cable
and then, in that way, the fiber optic measurement is just as good as a seismometer."
Nate Lindsey, a PhD student and seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
Here's how it works:
the scientists basically take a snapshot of the fiber by shining a laser down it and measuring the photons that bounce back after scattering off of small cracks and impurities in the glass.
By doing this tens of thousands of times a second, the researchers can record how the cable deforms as seismic waves pass through it.
So far, Lindsey's team has tested the technique in optical fibers they installed themselves in Fairbanks, Alaska, and around the Bay Area.
这里是科学美国人――60秒科学。我是朱莉娅・罗森。
有一分钟时间吗?
当地震来袭或火山喷发时,
科学家通常用专门设计的地震仪来记录震动。
这些传感器极为敏感,但是它们也很昂贵,而且在世界各地分布不均衡。
因此,科学家正在研究另一种监测地震的策略:
用光纤电缆,它也是构成互联网的主干。
“所以运动过程非常清晰。
具体而言,你可以从地震发生地点看到各种不同地震能量的到来。
地震学家用纵波、横波以及地球破裂部位移出的不同阶段来定位地震发生地点。
所以,我们可以用光纤电缆检测到噪音之上的重要信息,
这种光纤测量地震的方式和地震仪一样好用。”
内特・林赛是加州大学伯克利分校的博士生和地震学家。
下面是工作原理:
基本上,科学家是通过照射激光测量玻璃中分散的小裂纹和杂质回弹后所产生的光子,对光纤进行抓拍。
每秒钟进行数万次抓拍,当地震波通过时,研究人员就能记录下光纤是如何变形的。
林赛的团队在美国阿拉斯加州费尔班克斯和海湾地区安装了光纤,到目前为止,该团队已经在光纤中测试了这种技术。
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