Fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is an emerging technology that enables the recording of ground motions with fibre-optic (telecommunication) cables. Since these cables can be deployed in environments that are traditionally challenging for seismometers (underwater, in cities, glaciers, deep boreholes, etc.), we can use DAS to make measurements of seismic waves in sparsely instrumented locations. Moreover, the high spatial- and temporal resolution of DAS data and the low cost of optic fibre makes fibre-optic cables an attractive, low-cost alternative to expensive seismometer arrays. But since DAS is a relatively new technique in geophysics, we do not yet know the extent to which DAS is a valid substitution to seismometers. In this talk I will explain the principles of DAS, go through some interesting applications in geophysics, and discuss in detail what it is that we actually measure (often it is not what we want to measure!). I will conclude by proposing a practical solution of combining DAS arrays with standard seismometers to facilitate the analysis of DAS recordings.
Speaker: Martijn van den Ende, University of Central Arkansas
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