EUR 4 million for seismology research led by University of Hamburg

EU provides extra monies for tests of new measuring instruments
31 December 2020
Universität Hamburg

The European Union has earmarked EUR 4 million in funds for the "SPIN - Seismological Parameters & Instrumentation" research network for four years, a press release said Wednesday (December 16, 2020). Prof. Dr. Céline Hadziioannou, at the University of Hamburg’s Institute of Geophysics, co-ordinates the development of new methods for observing the Earth's crust across Europe. Ocean waves, rivers or even lorries travelling on a motorway generate seismic noise which is central to the research field of seismology. Noises are detected and researchers can analyse the Earth's interior and its composition.

Tests of novel sensor technology 

The additional funds will be used to test new types of sensor technology in nine participating research institutions and to train junior staff. "Our research and training will fundamentally change the methodology of how we monitor the Earth's crust and predict potential natural hazards in future," said Hadziioannou. The technology offers a new level of detail, she added. Thanks to a new generation of measuring instruments, more precise data on changes in the Earth's materials can be collected than in the past.

Fibre optic cables for measuring seismic waves

Existing fibre optic cables in cities and on the seabed will be used to pick up seismic waves. "We can receive a signal about every ten metres from just one sensor at each end of the fibre optic cable. Plenty of exciting information is hidden in that data," Hadziioannou pointed out. Researchers now hope that the new technology will help detect landslides and volcanic eruptions early and to better assess the stability of buildings and bridges in future.