Distributed Acousting Sensing experiment in Svalbard. Monitoring icequakes with a fibre-optic cable.

This September dr Wojciech Gajek started fieldworks within FROST: Fibre-optic sensing towards the improvement of environmental monitoring in Svalbard. The project was funded by SIOS (RIS ID 12246).

The project uses a novel technology of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) to monitor cryoseismological and environmental processes in Svalbard. DAS allows to measure strain rates in fibre-optic cables with a laser pulse. With a cable length of 9 km as used in FROST this may effectively substitute several hundreds of regular seismometers resulting in a game-changing resolution of seismic data.

Researchers from IG PAS, NORSAR and UiT Arctic Univeristy of Tromso expect that the new generation of seismic data allows for a better understanding of glacier- and permafrost-related seismicity providing insights into ongoing changes within glacial ice and thawing soil.

Next spring researchers will be back to Hornsund to observe the thrilling dynamics of glacial wake-up stimulated with fresh portions of meltwater.