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Reduction of Gravity Data 1.

Tidal Correction
Magnitude ~0.3 mgal, variation depends on latitude and time (i.e. position of moon & sun w.r.t. latitude & longitude) Moon's attraction ~ 2 times that of the sun's attraction Diurnal (24 hour period) & Semi-diurnal component are dominant Usually included in strument drift correction.

2. Drift Correction
~0.1 mgal/week due to creep in the springs and is usually uni-directional To correct for Drift & Tidal effects, stations need to be re-occupied and read at least once every 3-4 hours (best between 1-2 hours). If meter movement is not clamped between readings or gravimeter is subjected to sudden motion, erratic changes in reading may occur. If the instrument is bumped, it is wise to re-read a known station immediately. Plot the readings at the base-station as a function of time, use straight lines to connect neighboring points and to interpolate for readings at any other time gd(t). For gravity measurements at other stations, the Drift & Tide corrected reading is the observed value at time t minus gd(t) , the interpolated reading at time t.

3. Etvos Correction for moving platforms

r r A gravimeter in motion experience the Coriolis acceleration - 2 V (due to earth rotation). The vertical component of Coriolis acceleration gives Etvos acceleration. The correction term depends on the velocity of the ship V (in km/hr), its latitude and its heading :: gE = 4.040V cos sin + 0.001211V 2 Error in Etvos Correction due to errors in V and is :

( gE ) = (0.0705V cos


)d + (4.040cos sin + 0.002422V )dV

Sensitivity to Velocity Error greatest for E-W coarse, Sensitivity to direction Error greatest for N-S coarse 1


Diurnal Neap tide

Spring tide

Spring tide

Coriolis Force

r r r FCoriolis = 2mV

Vertical component decreases near the pole

g E = 4.040V cos sin + 0.001211V 2

Correction is largest for E-W direction and at the equator



North Equator


N Pole

(gE ) = (0.0705V cos cos )d + (4 .040 cos sin + 0 .002422V )dV


Error largest for heading ~45o and at equator


North Equator


N Pole

4. Latitude Effects:
Since the earth is rotating, its shape is spheroidal (to 1st order approximation) due to the centrifugal acceleration ( 2d where d is the perpendicular distance from the rotation axis and is the angular speed of Earth rotation). T he spheroid has radius r varying with latitude according to: r( ) a(1 f sin 2 ) where a is the radius of Earth at the equator, c is the radius of Earth at the pole and the flattening of Earth f = ac . Since a-c~21 km , a~6378 km , therefore f ~1/299. a 1 1 2 r2 cos2 2 2 where J2 is a constant

The gravity on the spheroid can be derived from the gravitational potential U: U GM GMa 2 3 2 + sin 3 J2 2 r r

The 2nd term is due to the spheroidal

shape of Earth

determined by the distribution of mass and the term in brackets is the 2nd degree harmonic giving the spheroidal shape. The 3rd term is the Centrifugal potential. Since
2 U 2 U U GM 3GMa 2 3 2 g= U = + = 2 J 2 sin r r 2 r r r4 Its value on the spheroid r() is the normal gravity given by:

1 2

rcos 2

( ) = geq 1 + p sin 2 (

) + q sin 2 (2 )}

where geq =978.0327 gal , p=0.0053024 and q=-0.0000059. (WGS1984) Question: How much does the latitude effect of g vary between 2 stations 100 km apart in the north-south direction? To do this, first determine the horizontal gradient in the N-S direction and multiply by the separation. As shown in the next page, the "northward gradient" is latititude dependent. Around Calgary, the gradient is about 0.8 mgal/km. Therefore, 100 km north of Calgary, the latitude effect gives an increase of 80 mgal. Question: If we want the latitude effect to be less than 1/100 mgal, how accurate do we have to determine the location of the stations? Answer: about 10 meters!

1. Variation of gravity with latitude and height

g = 978.04 1+0.00529 sin 2 5.9x10 6 sin 2 2 g is in gal , is latitude & H is height in km sea level 1 km 5 km 10 km 0.3086 H

g (mgal)

latitude (degrees)

Variation of horizontal gradient of g with latitude horizontal gradient of g northwards for gradient in mgal/km


g g = s s

180 = = 8.9932 s R

g grad = 8795 5.8 10 5 cos sin 1.31 10 7 cos 2 sin 2

north gradient of g (mgal/km)

latitude (degrees) g (mgal) above a slab of mass of density (gm/cc) and height h (m)

0.3086 h + 0.042 h = 0.191 h if = 2.8 gm /cc


Direction of Gravity Vector. The gravitational acceleration is directed toward the center of Earth g*, but the centrifugal force is directed away from the axis of rotation, thus the "effective gravity" vector g is NOT directed toward the center of Earth. Geoid. The shape of the Earth is not exactly a spheroid given by r( ) a(1 f sin 2 ) (see diagram below). The undisturbed surface of the ocean (no wind, no current, no tides etc. and averaged over time) is an equipotential surface (everywhere perpendicular to the direction of the plumb line) called the geoid. Mean sea level (with tides removed) is a good approximation to the geoid, but differs by meters (due to winds & ocean currents). Definition of geoid on land is complicated by the upward attraction of mass above. Gravity measured at point P' above the geoid is projected along the vertical to point P on the geoid. Gravity observations, reduced to the geoid (but NOT to the surface of the spheroid) are called gravity anomaly gP = gP

= gP + (


If gravity observations are reduced to the spheroid (P projected to Q on the spheroid along the normal), they can be compared with the normal gravity giving gravity perturbation gP = gP between P and Q. equipotential surface that pass thru P' geoid N P' P Q

= gP

where geoid height N

is the distance

reference spheroid 3

5. Elevation Effect (Free Air Correction):

As one moves away from the center of the Earth, gravity decreases. The rate of decrease can be deduced by assuming a spherical earth: g = GM 2 GM 2 g = = g 2 .Therefore 2 r r r r r

which gives a value of -0.3086 mgal/m If we take into the account of the spheroidal shape and the height, then g = 0.30855 0.00022cos(2 ) + 0.73 10 7 h where h is in r

meters. For most of our purpose, we just use -0.3086 mgal/m. If we measure the gravity at some height above datum, then we subtract this gravity decrease to remove the elevation effect. Thus the Free Air Gravity Anomaly (with latitude and elevation effects removed) can be obtained from the observed value by : gFA = gobs

( ) + 0.3086h .

For an accuracy of 0.01 mgal, elevation must be known to within 3 cm!

6. Bouger Correction for material between station level and datum.

E D A Datum plane B' B h

g B = gB'

2go h + 2 G h = g B' (0.3086 0.042 )h RE

where the 2nd term on the right is due to Free Air effect and the 3rd term is due to downward attraction of a slab of thickness h. Since g B =g obs

( ) is the measured

value with latitude effects removed, the above equation can be rearranged to give the reduction formula: g B' = gB + (0.3086 0.042 )h Therefore, Bouger Anomaly (with latitude, elevation and topographic mass effects removed) is given by: gBouger = gFA 0.042 h The values of g for the above formulas are in mgal if h is in meters and in gm/cc. For example, with =2.8 gm/cc, -0.3086h+0.042 h = -0.191h.

The standard way of defining Bouger Anomaly at sea is to replace the water at sea (density = 1 gm/cc) by rock material of density = 2.67 gm/cc. Thus, we are in effect adding 0.042( w = 0.070w, where w is the water depth in meters. Due to

isostasy, the Free Air anomaly is small in most oceanic regions, but the Bouger correction above is strongly positive, thus the Bouger correction term completely masks the effects of subsurface density variations. Furthermore, the density of the seafloor is usually greater than the assumed density of 2.67 gm/cc. Thus, the Bouger anomaly at sea is less useful than on land. Today, most geophysicists use Free Air anomaly at sea but use Bouger anomaly on land. The density of the local topography is required f or the calculation of Bouger correction. For flat or hilly areas, the uncertainty in density do not pose a big problem. But for mountainous regions, the problem may be severe. Nettleton proposed to find the optimal density that gives the minimum correlation between local topography and the Bouger anomaly. For example, the hill on the left of the diagram below is not underlain by any
400 Topography (m) 200 0 -200 -400 -600 30 Bouger Anomaly (mgal) Nettleton's Method 20 10 0 -10 -20 Free Air =0 =2 =2.7 =4.5 Geology

=2.7 =2.7 =3.0

lateral density variation, Bouger anomaly reduced to zero when the correct density is used. However, for the igneous intrusion on the right, Nettleton's method do not work because a much larger density is required to minimize the Bouger anomaly. Note that the assumptions of Bouger Correction are: 1) slab is of uniform density; 2) of infinite horizontal extent. The last assumption is valid only if distance from the edge >> h. So at stations D & E (diagram in last page), Terrain Correction is needed.

overestimate of downward attraction

upward attraction D h Datum plane

7. Terrain Correction
Consider the reduction at station D, The infinite horizontal slab of thickness h deficient in 2 aspects: 1) it neglects the upward attraction of the material above D (shaded part to the right) 2) it assumed that the valley to the left is filled with rocks, thus it overestimates the downward attraction. To correct for this, an upward attraction must be applied. Thus, both correction terms to 1 & 2 are of the same sign! Today, terrain corrections are performed by computers. The procedure is as follows: 1) start with a good topographic map (contour interval < 10 m) around the station and extending beyond the survey area; station locations; average density of rocks. 2) with the station as the center, concentric compartments are placed on the topo map. 3) For each compartment, estimate the average elevation with respect to the elevation of the station. The terrain gravity due to this compartment with bounding radius r1 & r2 and angle is : gi = G is

2 r 1 +

2 r2 +

+ r2 r 1 .

Note that

appears as a square, this is because, as explained above, the correction for extra mass above or mass deficit below the station have the same sign! Also the correction is small if (r1 + r2) 2 > 20 . 4) Sum up the contributions from all compartments to give the total Terrain Correction. No provision for relief within 2 meters from the station as any 1 m relief can have large (>0.04 mgal) corrections. In areas of steep and erratic slopes, terrain corrections are usually not very accurate. So it is better to have the gravity stations located away from sharp relief (whenever possible).

Illustrate that Latitude & Topo Effects can mask gravity anomaly of target (sphere) 20
Buried Sphere at 2km depth

15 mgal

Latitude Effect (0.8 mgal/km near Calgary) Topography Effect


-5 -10







Reduction of Gravity Data

TOTAL (Observed gravity)


Latitude Effect removed Topo & Lat Effects removed

5 mgal

-5 -10





0 X (km)