Ella-Link GeoLab Madeira testbed


Not open in the 2nd call (May - July 2024).


Host institution:

Helmholtz Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Germany


GeoLab (https://ella.link/geolab/) is an infrastructure consisting of a spare fiber pair built into the Funchal branch of the Ella-Link submarine telecommunications cable, which stretches out for 75 km, south-east from the coast of Madeira, into the Atlantic Ocean. The group behind making GeoLab a reality includes EllaLink, EMACOM, FCCN and GÉANT. The goal of the infrastructure is to provide researchers with a facility they can bring their own equipment to make recordings from the fiber with optical instruments. Optical equipment brought to the cable will allow for measuring fiber deformation of the submarine cable, with applications for seismology (earthquake detection and characterization, structure of the Earth interior), oceanography (seabed/solid earth interaction, oceanic currents) and anthropogenic noise.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

The GeoLab facility will offer the possibility to sense the fiber with optical systems (DAS, Distributed temperature and Strain sensing, Laser Interferometry and Polarisation of communication channel lasers). GeoLab can provide users with a unique opportunity to analyze fiber deformation at the seafloor in oceanic environment, to improve knowledge on multi-risks in open ocean environment. Data collected within single TA activities will be down sampled and integrated into the VA offer of the project according to the developed policies in WP2.

Modality of access:

The planned unit access for the facility is “1 week”, with typical physical/remote access durations being between 2 and 6 weeks, enabling the user to install and collect the data from the instruments. The total amount of access planned and supported during the project is 16 weeks. A minimum of 2 weeks for access is recommended.


The laboratory will offer the support for the on-site technical management of the instruments (DAS system and other instruments), storage and global internet connectivity via the FCCN and GÉANT research and education networks, installation at the fiber termination, training on instrument usage and supporting material necessary to support the experiments. In collaboration with GFZ, support for data preparation and curation as well as support for equipment can be provided as needed.