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The potential of using fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) in earthquake early warning applications

April 12, 2022

As the seismological community embraces fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), DAS arrays are becoming a logical, scalable option to obtain strain and ground‐motion data for which the installation of seismometers is not easy or cheap, such as in dense offshore arrays. The potential of strain data in earthquake early warning (EEW) applications has been recently demonstrated using records from borehole strainmeters (BSMs). However, current BSM networks are sparse, installing more BSMs is expensive and often impractical, and BSMs have the same limitations in offshore environments as other traditional seismic instruments. Here, we aim to provide a road map about how DAS data could be used in existing EEW applications, using the ShakeAlert EEW System for the West Coast of the United States as an example. We review the data requirements for EEW systems, examine ways in which strain‐derived ground‐motion data can be incorporated into such systems without significant modifications, and determine what is still needed for full utilization of DAS data in these applications. Importantly, EEW algorithms require ground‐motion amplitude information for rapid earthquake source characterization; thus, accurate strain amplitude observations, not only phase information, are necessary for deriving these ground‐motion metrics from DAS data. To obtain high‐quality ground‐motion observations, EEW‐compatible DAS arrays need to be multicomponent, well coupled, and low noise. We suggest ways to achieve such data requirements using existing DAS technology and discuss areas in which further research is needed to optimize DAS array performance for EEW.

Publication Year 2022
Title The potential of using fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) in earthquake early warning applications
DOI 10.1785/0120210214
Authors Noha Farghal, Jessie Kate Saunders, Grace Alexandra Parker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70236048
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center