Underwater avalanche continued for two days 非洲西側海底沉積物崩塌持續兩日

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科學家們報告說,這是迄今為止觀測到的持續時間最長的沉積物崩塌。崩塌發生在非洲西側剛果河河口切入海底的一條深邃峽谷中。

We’ve all seen pictures of an avalanche falling down a mountain. Now, imagine this mighty force tumbling down a slope for two whole days. This gives you a sense of the volume of sand and mud that collapsed down the Congo Canyon – a sinuous channel that leads away from the West African coastline.

我們都見過雪崩時積雪滑下山坡的畫面。現在,想像這股強大的力量在斜坡上翻滾了整整兩天。由此可見塌向剛果海底峽谷的泥沙量之大,這條蜿蜒的通道從非洲西部海岸線切入海洋。

An international team of scientists were in the fortunate position to catch the action because they’d lined the channel with instruments. Each sensor popped to the surface to email home, as the so-called turbidity current roared past. The observations provide critical new insights on how these huge sediment flows are triggered. And this gives telecoms companies fresh ideas on how to protect submarine cables.

一個國際科研團隊有幸捕捉到了事件的發生,因為他們此前已在通道沿線布下了觀測儀器。當所謂的濁流呼嘯而過時,每個傳感器都會彈出水面發郵件通知團隊。觀測結果為泥沙量巨大的沉積物流的觸發形式提供了至關重要的新見解。這給電信公司提供了如何保護海底電纜的新思路。

Cables can be repaired in weeks by pulling them up and patching – much like you might fix a power cable sliced through by a lawnmower. But delays are costly – money transfers going over these underwater connections have a daily value of trillions of dollars.

破損的電纜可以通過將之拖出水面來修補,該過程耗時數週,這和修理被割草機切斷的電線是同一個原理。但修復造成的時間延誤是代價高昂的,經由水下電纜連接完成的資金轉移每天價值數萬億美元。

詞彙表

avalanche (積雪、沙石等的)崩塌
tumbling 滾落,坍塌
sinuous channel 蜿蜒曲折的通道
instruments 儀器
sensor 傳感器
turbidity current 濁流
insights 深刻見解
sediment flows 沉積物流
submarine 水下的,海底的
costly 昂貴的,高代價的
money transfers 資金轉移

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。

1. How long has this underwater avalanche been happening for?

2. How did the sensors tell scientists what had happened?

3. Why might the scientists’ observations help telecoms companies?

4. What flows through these underwater cables that have a daily value of trillions of dollars?

答案  

1. How long has this underwater avalanche been happening for?
The sand and mud avalanche has been tumbling down a slope for two whole days.

2. How did the sensors tell scientists what had happened?
As the avalanche moved past, sensors popped to the surface to email a message home to the scientists.

3. Why might the scientists’ observations help telecoms companies?
The observations give telecoms companies fresh ideas on how to protect submarine cables.

4. What flows through these underwater cables that have a daily value of trillions of dollars?
Money transfers going over these underwater connections have a daily value of trillions of dollars.