Spectral expressions for modelling the gravitational field of the Earth's crust density structure

Robert Tenzer, Pavel Novák, Hamayun, Peter Vajda

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We derive expressions for computing the gravitational field (potential and its radial derivative) generated by an arbitrary homogeneous or laterally varying density contrast layer with a variable depth and thickness based on methods for a spherical harmonic analysis and synthesis of gravity field. The newly derived expressions are utilised in the gravimetric forward modelling of major known density structures within the Earth's crust (excluding the ocean density contrast) beneath the geoid surface. The gravitational field quantities due to the sediments and crust components density contrasts, shown in numerical examples, are computed using the 2 × 2 arc-deg discrete data from the global crustal model CRUST2. 0. These density contrasts are defined relative to the adopted value of the reference crustal density of 2670 kgm-3. All computations are realised globally on a 1 × 1 arc-deg geographical grid at the Earth's surface. The maxima of the gravitational signal due to the sediments density contrast are mainly along continental shelf regions with the largest sedimentary deposits. The corresponding maxima due to the consolidated crust components density contrast are over areas of the largest continental crustal thickness with variable geological structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalStudia Geophysica et Geodaetica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • density
  • Earth's crust
  • forward modelling
  • gravity
  • spherical harmonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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