Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Studies of Earth Dynamics with the Superconducting Gravimeter

Heikki Virtanen

Doctoral dissertation, April 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Sciences, Geophysics.

The superconducting (or cryogenic) gravimeter (SG) is based on the levitation of a super­conducting sphere in a stable magnetic field created by current in superconducting coils. Depending on frequency, it is capable of detecting gravity variations as small as 10-11ms-2. For a single event, the detection threshold is higher, conservatively about 10-9 ms-2. Due to its high sensitivity and low drift rate, the SG is eminently suitable for the study of geodynamical phenomena through their gravity signatures. I present investigations of Earth dynamics with the superconducting gravimeter GWR T020 at Metsähovi from 1994 to 2005. The history and key technical details of the installation are given. The data processing methods and the development of the local tidal model at Metsähovi are presented. The T020 is a part of the worldwide GGP (Global Geodynamics Project) network, which consist of 20 working station. The data of the T020 and of other participating SGs are available to the scientific community. The SG T020 have used as a long-period seismometer to study microseismicity and the Earth's free oscillation. The annual variation, spectral distribution, amplitude and the sources of microseism at Metsähovi were presented. Free oscillations excited by three large earthquakes were analyzed: the spectra, attenuation and rotational splitting of the modes. The lowest modes of all different oscillation types are studied, i.e. the radial mode 0S0 , the "football mode" 0S2, and the toroidal mode 0T2. The very low level (0.01 nms-1) incessant excitation of the Earth's free oscillation was detected with the T020.

The recovery of global and regional variations in gravity with the SG requires the modelling of local gravity effects. The most important of them is hydrology. The variation in the groundwater level at Metsähovi as measured in a borehole in the fractured bedrock correlates significantly (0.79) with gravity. The influence of local precipitation, soil moisture and snow cover are detectable in the gravity record.

The gravity effect of the variation in atmospheric mass and that of the non-tidal loading by the Baltic Sea were investigated together, as sea level and air pressure are correlated. Using Green's functions it was calculated that a 1 metre uniform layer of water in the Baltic Sea increases the gravity at Metsähovi by 31 nms-2 and the vertical deformation is -11 mm. The regression coefficient for sea level is 27 nms-2m-1, which is 87% of the uniform model. These studies are associated with temporal height variations using the GPS data of Metsähovi permanent station. Results of long time series at Metsähovi demonstrated high quality of data and correctly carried out offsets and drift corrections. The superconducting gravimeter T020 has been proved to be an eminent and versatile tool in studies of the Earth dynamics.

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Last updated 19.04.2006

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