EAGER: Pilot Fiber Seismic Networks at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
This EAGER award will explore the Distributed Acoustic Sensing emerging technology that transforms a single optical fiber into a massively multichannel seismic array. This technology may provide a scalable and affordable way to deploy dense seismic networks. Experimental Distributed Acoustic Sensing equipment will be tested in the Antarctic exploiting unused (dark) strands in the existing fiber-optic cable that connects the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to the Remote Earth Science and Seismological Observatory (SPRESSO) located about 7.5-km from the main station. Upon processing the seismic signals, the Distributed Acoustic Sensing may provide a new tool to structurally image firn, glacial ice, and glacial bedrock. Learning how Distributed Acoustic Sensing would work on the ice sheet, scientists can then check seismological signals propagating through the Earth's crust and mantle variously using natural icequakes and earthquakes events in the surrounding area. The investigators propose to convert at least 8 km of pre-existing fiber optic cable at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station into more than 8000 sensors to explore the potential of Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) as a breakthrough data engine for polar seismology. The DAS array will operate for about one year, allowing them to (1) evaluate and calibrate the performance of the DAS technology in the extreme cold, very low noise (including during the exceptionally quiet austral winter) polar plateau environment; (2) record and analyze local ambient and transient signals from ice, anthropogenic signals, ocean microseism, atmospheric and other processes, as well as to study local, regional, and teleseismic tectonic events; (3) structurally image the firn, glacial ice, glacial bed, crust, and mantle, variously using active sources, ambient seismic noise, and natural icequake and earthquake events.
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