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Chapter 10. Submarine Cables and Natural Hazards

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Chapter Summary

Damage to submarine cables and cable networks are sustained mainly through three causes; negligent human activities, intentional human activities and natural hazards. This chapter examines the damage that may be caused to cables as a result of natural phenomena occurring in the marine environment where the cables operate. The coast and adjacent continental shelf and uppermost continental slope down to approximately 200 m water depth are most frequently exposed to hazards that are generated by weather and shelf/slope current systems. Submarine cables traversing the continental shelf are subject to frequent wave and current action that is capable of shifting sand and gravel, to create conditions favouring cable abrasion and suspension; the latter exposing the cable to fatigue if a suspension moves or strums with the water motions. Submarine cables are not immune to the hazards associated with climate change.

Keywords: continental shelf; continental slope; natural hazards; submarine cables

10.1163/9789004260337_012
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