Is it true that sharks like to bite submarine cables?

Whenever the undersea cable has a problem, breaks, makes the network slow, can’t access Facebook, you immediately blame the shark. So, is it true that sharks bite, causing problems with submarine cables? And why do sharks like to bite cables? Let’s try to find out!

The problem of the AAG undersea fiber optic cable route affecting international Internet connections is probably no stranger to Vietnamese users. Broken fiber optic cables have many different causes such as natural conditions, people, fishing boats and even shark bites.

The fact that sharks bit off fiber optic cables is completely real. Since 1985, scientists have discovered traces of shark teeth on a cableway off the Canary Islands. A shark was once filmed trying to bite a fiber optic cable on the seabed.

Although shark bites are not the main cause of submarine cable failures, it is a fact that this predator is attracted to cables. Scientists have also conducted research to find out why sharks like to bite the fiber optic cables on the seabed.

Undersea fiber optic cable is very long, so to ensure the transmission of data it needs to be supplied with a very high voltage. And it is this voltage that creates a magnetic field of about 50Hz around the length of the cable.

But sharks have the ability to sense magnetic fields to hunt. Therefore, they often mistake the magnetic field emitted by the marine fiber optic cable as that of their prey and attack. Although the fiber optic cables bitten by sharks may not break in half, they still create holes that allow seawater to contact copper pipes and cable cores. The current supplied to the amplifier is leaked, making it unable to amplify the light signal and greatly affecting data transmission.

However, Professor Chris Lowe, who specializes in shark studies at California State University, believes that sharks often bite marine fiber optic cables simply because they are curious. Sharks are like other animals like dogs and cats, when you bring out a plastic object or piece of plastic, they will want to grab it. Not because they think it’s edible, but just curious and playful.

But in fact, the rate of marine fiber optic cables broken, having problems caused by sharks is very low. Up to 70% of undersea fiber optic cable breaks are caused by humans with intentional actions of cutting and stealing undersea fiber optic cables or by clonal activities that hook and break fiber optic cables.


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