An Ocean Bottom Absolute Gravity Meter

  • Mark A. Zumberge
  • Eric L. Canuteson
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 113)


We have completed the development of new absolute gravity meter that can be operated on the seafloor. The instrument is operated from a ship with a long cable and is capable of operation to 5000 meter depth. The design goal is an accuracy of 10 μGal, which, when achieved in repeat measurements during a period of many years, will provide information on variations in seafloor height with a precision of 3 to 5 cm.

The components needed for the absolute measurement of gravity are contained within a 60-cm-diameter aluminum pressure case. These include a vacuum chamber containing the test mass, an interferometer for tracking of the falling test mass, a fringe-signal processing system for calculation of acceleration, and various control systems. The entire system is mounted on motorized legs for leveling. Aside from the capability to be operated remotely, the instrument differs from other absolute gravity meters in two key ways. The first is that the new interferometer is based on optical fibers. The second is that the fringe signal is digitized.

Three measurements in the Pacific Ocean have been completed. The design of a benchmark re-occupation system is currently underway.


Gravity Gradient Test Mass Absolute Gravity Main Cable Pressure Case 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Zumberge
    • 1
  • Eric L. Canuteson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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