Open Access

A new approach to geophysical real-time measurements on a deep-sea floor using decommissioned submarine cables

  • Junzo Kasahara1Email author,
  • Toshinori Sato1,
  • Hiroyasu Momma2 and
  • Yuichi Shirasaki3
Earth, Planets and Space201450:BF03352187

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352187

Received: 8 April 1998

Accepted: 17 October 1998

Published: 6 June 2014


In order to better understand earthquake generation, tectonics at plate boundaries, and better image the Earth’s deep structures, real-time geophysical measurements in the ocean are required. We therefore attempted to use decommissioned submarine cables, TPC-1 and TPC-2. An OBS was successfully linked to the TPC-1 on the landward slope of the Izu-Bonin Trench in 1997. The OBS detected co-seismic and gradual changes during a Mw 6.1 earthquake just below the station at 80 km depth on November 11, 1997. A pressure sensor co-registered a change equivalent to 50 cm sea-level change. This suggests a high possibility detecting silent earthquakes or earthquake precursors if they exist.

A multi-disciplinary geophysical station has been developed for deep-sea floor using TPC-2 since 1995. The station comprises eight instrument sets: broadband seismometers, geodetic measurements, hydrophone array, deep-sea digital camera, CTD, etc.

These activities are examples that decommissioned submarine cables can be great global resources for real-time cost-effective geophysical measurements on a deep-sea floor.