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Portugal will debut seismic detection by submarine cable worldwide. What are the potentials?

The international submarine cable that will connect Portugal to Brazil, and which should be operational in the second quarter of 2021, will have seismic detection capacity in the branch between Funchal and Sines. This is the first international system in the world to integrate this functionality, guarantees ANACOM, and the information collected may contribute to a decision-making process regarding the production of alerts and warnings about the occurrence of tsunamis and earthquakes.

Seismic data collected by the system named EllaLink will be delivered for storage, processing and study to national universities, agencies and public institutes that study and address seismic activity. The objective is to improve the scientific knowledge of the maritime fund of the Portuguese continental platform, and there is also the possibility of contributing to the evaluation of the production of certain types of alerts.

In 2017, ANACOM alerted the Government to the need to replace the Continente-Aores-Madeira ring (CAM), which will be in service until the end of 2024. This is because it considers that "its replacement is absolutely necessary to guarantee territorial cohesion between Autonomous Regions and the Continent ". A year later, it challenged the sector, operators and manufacturers to consider the possibility of, in the new CAM Ring, future subsea cables carrying out seismic detection.

More recently, in early 2019, the construction of the optical fiber submarine cable for data transmission was approved. The system will connect Portugal, through Sines to Fortaleza, to Brazil, making the connection between Europe and Latin America closer. The intercontinental cable is the result of the agreement between EllaLink and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN).

Environmental and seismic detection, through the use of submarine communications cables, may be possible through various complementary methods, guarantees ANACOM. An example of this is the use of submerged sensors, so-called wet detection, or by the non-recurrence use of submerged sensors for so-called dry detection.