When internet cables are science

More than a million and a half telecommunications cables cross the oceans of the globe, the depths of which are so poorly known. These glass fibers housed in solid structures carry our phone calls and our data in the form of packets of light. Finer than hair, these strands are sensitive to environmental conditions: variations in temperature, pressure, or vibrations, modify the optical properties of the fiber.

Disturbances that are of great interest to scientists, because they contain clues to the local conditions prevailing in these inaccessible regions.

A commercial cable

This is what Giuseppe Marra’s group, from the National Physics Laboratory in Teddington (Great Britain), did using a commercial 5860 cable…

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