Repeated absolute gravity measurements for monitoring slow intraplate vertical deformation in western Europe

Van Camp, Michel; de Viron, Olivier; Scherneck, Hans-Georg; Hinzen, Klaus-Günter; Williams, Simon D.P.; Lecocq, Thomas; Quinif, Yves; Camelbeeck, Thierry. 2011 Repeated absolute gravity measurements for monitoring slow intraplate vertical deformation in western Europe. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116 (B8). B08402. 10.1029/2010JB008174

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In continental plate interiors, ground surface movements are at the limit of the noise level and close to or below the accuracy of current geodetic techniques. Absolute gravity measurements are valuable to quantify slow vertical movements, as this instrument is drift free and, unlike GPS, independent of the terrestrial reference frame. Repeated absolute gravity (AG) measurements have been performed in Oostende (Belgian coastline) and at eight stations along a southwest-northeast profile across the Belgian Ardennes and the Roer Valley Graben (Germany), in order to estimate the tectonic deformation in the area. The AG measurements, repeated once or twice a year, can resolve elusive gravity changes with a precision better than 3.7 nm/s2/yr (95% confidence interval) after 11 years, even in difficult conditions. After 8–15 years (depending on the station), we find that the gravity rates of change lie in the [−3.1, 8.1] nm/s2/yr interval and result from a combination of anthropogenic, climatic, tectonic, and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) effects. After correcting for the GIA, the inferred gravity rates and consequently, the vertical land movements, reduce to zero within the uncertainty level at all stations except Jülich (because of man-induced subsidence) and Sohier (possibly, an artifact because of the shortness of the time series at that station).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2010JB008174
Programmes: NOC Programmes
ISSN: 0148-0227
Date made live: 31 Aug 2012 12:23 +0 (UTC)

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