Discusion of mean gravity along the plumbline

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14 Citations (Scopus)


According to the definition of the orthometric height, the mean value of gravity along the plumbline between the Earth's surface and the geoid is defined in an integral sense. In Helmert's (1890) definition of the orthometric height, a linear change of the gravity with depth is assumed. The mean gravity is determined so that the observed gravity at the Earth's surface is reduced to the approximate mid-point of the plumbline using Poincaré-Prey's gravity gradient. Niethammer (1932) and later Mader (1954) took into account the mean value of the gravimetric terrain correction within the topography considering the constant topographical density distribution along the plumbline (for more details see Heiskanen and Moritz, 1967). Vaníček et al (1995) included the effect of the lateral variation of the topographical density into the definition of Helmert's orthometric height. Recently, Hwang and Hsiao (2003) discussed the influence of the vertical gradient of disturbing gravity on the orthometric heights. In this paper, the mean integral value of gravity along the plumbline within the topography is defined so that the actual topographical density distribution and the change of the disturbing gravity with depth are taken into account. Based on the definition of the mean gravity, the relation between the orthometric and normal heights is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-330
Number of pages22
JournalStudia Geophysica et Geodaetica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dirichlet's problem
  • Mean gravity
  • Orthometric height
  • Topographical effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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