Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gravity variations over Earth much bigger than previously thought

Date:
September 4, 2013
Source:
Curtin University
Summary:
Scientists have created the highest-resolution maps of Earth's gravity field to date -- showing gravitational variations up to 40 percent larger than previously assumed. New gravity maps revealed the variations of free-fall gravity over Earth were much bigger than previously thought.

Gravity disturbances over North America.
Credit: GGMplus/Western Australian Centre for Geodesy

A joint Australian-German research team led by Curtin University's Dr Christian Hirt has created the highest-resolution maps of Earth's gravity field to date -- showing gravitational variations up to 40 per cent larger than previously assumed.

Using detailed topographic information obtained from the US Space Shuttle, a specialist team including Associate Professor Michael Kuhn, Dr Sten Claessens and Moritz Rexer from Curtin's Western Australian Centre for Geodesy and Professor Roland Pail and Thomas Fecher from Technical University Munich improved the resolution of previous global gravity field maps by a factor of 40.

"This is a world-first effort to portray the gravity field for all countries of our planet with unseen detail," Dr Hirt said.

"Our research team calculated free-fall gravity at three billion points -- that's one every 200 metres -- to create these highest-resolution gravity maps. They show the subtle changes in gravity over most land areas of Earth."

The new gravity maps revealed the variations of free-fall gravity over Earth were much bigger than previously thought.

Earth's gravitational pull is smallest on the top of the Huascaran mountain in the South American Andes, and largest near the North Pole.

"Only a few years ago, this research would not have been possible," Dr Hirt said.

"The creation of the maps would have required about 80 years of office PC computation time but advanced supercomputing provided by the Western Australian iVEC facility helped us to complete the maps within a few months."

High-resolution gravity maps are required in civil engineering, for instance, for building of canals, bridges and tunnels. The mining industry could also benefit.

"The maps can be used by surveyors and other spatial science professionals to precisely measure topographic heights with satellite systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS)," Dr Hirt said.

The findings of the research team from Curtin and Technical University Munich have recently appeared in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Earth's gravity field gallery: http://geodesy.curtin.edu.au/research/models/GGMplus/gallery.cfm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Curtin University. The original article was written by Megan Meates. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christian Hirt, Sten Claessens, Thomas Fecher, Michael Kuhn, Roland Pail, Moritz Rexer. New ultrahigh-resolution picture of Earth's gravity field. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/grl.50838

Cite This Page:

Curtin University. "Gravity variations over Earth much bigger than previously thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904105345.htm>.
Curtin University. (2013, September 4). Gravity variations over Earth much bigger than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904105345.htm
Curtin University. "Gravity variations over Earth much bigger than previously thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904105345.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins