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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 4;9(1):1328. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36675-8.

Distributed Acoustic Sensing Using Dark Fiber for Near-Surface Characterization and Broadband Seismic Event Detection.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Energy Geoscience Division, California, USA.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Energy Geoscience Division, California, USA.
University of California, Berkeley, Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, California, USA.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Energy Sciences Network, California, USA.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Computational Research Division, California, USA.


We present one of the first case studies demonstrating the use of distributed acoustic sensing deployed on regional unlit fiber-optic telecommunication infrastructure (dark fiber) for broadband seismic monitoring of both near-surface soil properties and earthquake seismology. We recorded 7 months of passive seismic data on a 27 km section of dark fiber stretching from West Sacramento, CA to Woodland, CA, densely sampled at 2 m spacing. This dataset was processed to extract surface wave velocity information using ambient noise interferometry techniques; the resulting VS profiles were used to map both shallow structural profiles and groundwater depth, thus demonstrating that basin-scale variations in hydrological state could be resolved using this technique. The same array was utilized for detection of regional and teleseismic earthquakes and evaluated for long period response using records from the M8.1 Chiapas, Mexico 2017, Sep 8th event. The combination of these two sets of observations conclusively demonstrates that regionally extensive fiber-optic networks can effectively be utilized for a host of geoscience observation tasks at a combination of scale and resolution previously inaccessible.

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