Generalized model for aMoho inversion from gravity and vertical gravity-gradient data

Zhourun Ye, Robert Tenzer, Nico Sneeuw, Lintao Liu, Franziska Wild-Pfeiffer

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


� The Authors 2016. Seismic data are primarily used in studies of the Earth's lithospheric structure including the Moho geometry. In regions, where seismic data are sparse or completely absent, gravimetric or combined gravimetric-seismic methods could be applied to determine the Moho depth. In this study, we derive and present generalized expressions for solving the Vening Meinesz-Moritz's (VMM) inverse problem of isostasy for a Moho depth determination from gravity and vertical gravity-gradient data. By solving the (non-linear) Fredholm's integral equation of the first kind, the linearized observation equations, which functionally relate the (given) gravity/gravity-gradient data to the (unknown)Moho depth, are derived in the spectral domain. The VMM gravimetric results are validated by using available seismic and gravimetric Moho models. Our results show that the VMM Moho solutions obtained by solving the VMM problem for gravity and gravity-gradient data are almost the same. This finding indicates that in global applications, using the global gravity/gravity-gradient data coverage, the spherical harmonic expressions for the gravimetric forward and inverse modelling yield (theoretically) the same results. Globally, these gravimetric solutions have also a relatively good agreement with the CRUST1.0 and GEMMA GOCE models in terms of their rms Moho differences (4.7 km and 4.1 km, respectively).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Geopotential theory
  • Gravity anomalies and Earth structure
  • Satellite geodesy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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