Undersea Internet Cables Could Detect Tsunamis

03/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tsunamis may be detectable with underwater fiber-optic cables, according to a new detailed model of the electrical fields the moving water generates.

The charged particles in the ocean water interact with Earth's magnetic field to induce voltage of up to 500 millivolts in the cables that ferry internet traffic around. With relatively simple technology, those voltage spikes could serve as a tsunami-warning system for nations that can't afford large arrays of other types of sensors.


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