A global network of sensors, initially set up to detect unauthorized nuclear detonations, has led to unexpected scientific discoveries, including the identification of a previously unknown pod of pygmy blue whales in the Indian Ocean. This network, known as the International Monitoring System (IMS), has been gathering data since the 1990s and has more than 300 facilities worldwide. While it has successfully picked up nuclear tests and large non-nuclear blasts, researchers have recently tapped into its vast data to study diverse phenomena, from whale songs to meteoroids.
- The International Monitoring System (IMS) was established in the 1990s to detect unauthorized nuclear tests, with more than 300 facilities worldwide.
- Beyond detecting nuclear blasts, the IMS has picked up various other sounds, including the discovery of a previously unknown pod of pygmy blue whales in the Indian Ocean through their unique songs.
- The widespread distribution of IMS sensors allows detection of various events, from seismic disturbances to atmospheric changes.
- Despite its primary purpose of monitoring for nuclear tests, the IMS has become a valuable tool for scientific research.
- The challenges of uniting nations for common goals, such as mapping the seafloor, highlight the importance of collaborative efforts for global benefits.