With Shark Week wrapping up, we’ve all likely gotten our fill of sharks sinking their teeth into all sorts things, from people to baby seals to the sharkcam. But you may not have seen a shark chomping down on this -- a cable on the bottom of the ocean.
Networked World reported earlier this week that Google wraps its cables in a kevlar-like material, in part to protect against shark bites:
“Last week at a Google Cloud Roadshow event in Boston Dan Belcher, a product manager on the Google cloud team in an opening keynote said that Google goes to great lengths to protect its infrastructure, including wrapping its trans-Pacific underwater cables in Kevlar to prevent against shark attacks, he said. Google did not respond to a request for additional information.”
Theories as to why sharks are biting into the cables in the first place revolve mostly around the wires' electromagnetic fields. The Verge speculates that because sharks have the ability to detect “bioelectric fields generated by fish” they are confused by electromagnetic fields that may be emitted from the cables.
Others say the sharks could just be curious. Chris Lowe, who runs Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach, told Wired, “If you had just a piece of plastic out there shaped like a cable, there’s a good chance they’d bite that too.”
The cables aren’t just vulnerable to shark bites. They can also be broken by “fishing trawlers, anchors, earthquakes and water pressure at depth," according to The Guardian.