Google has said that it has developed a method through which subsea fibre optic cables can be used to detect earthquakes and tsunamis.

Though such systems already exist, the company claims its technique uses existing fibre optic cables and works over tens of thousands of kilometres. This is significantly higher than the 100 km limit that current sensing techniques have. Further, the company has said that it would be using the same cables that have been deployed for the purpose of sharing, searching, sending and receiving information around the world.

Google had started monitoring the SOP on its cables in late 2019 and found that it was quite stable even after travelling for 10,500 km. After some time, Google detected an earthquake with 7.7 magnitude off Jamaica, 1500km away from the closest point of one of its cables. The detection is said to have happened nearly five minutes after the earthquake struck, which correlates to the travel time of the seismic wave from Jamaica to the cable, claimed Google.