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Open-File Report 00-140

Field Estimates of Gravity Terrain Corrections and Y2K-Compatible Method to Convert from Gravity Readings with Multiple Base Stations to Tide- and Long-Term Drift-Corrected Observations

By Donald Plouff

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (416 kB)Summary

Gravity observations are directly made or are obtained from other sources by the U.S. Geological Survey in order to prepare maps of the anomalous gravity field and consequently to interpret the subsurface distribution of rock densities and associated lithologic or geologic units. Observations are made in the field with gravity meters at new locations and at reoccupations of previously established gravity "stations." This report illustrates an interactively-prompted series of steps needed to convert gravity "readings" to values that are tied to established gravity datums and includes computer programs to implement those steps. Inasmuch as individual gravity readings have small variations, gravity-meter (instrument) drift may not be smoothly variable, and acommodations may be needed for ties to previously established stations, the reduction process is iterative. Decision-making by the program user is prompted by lists of best values and graphical displays.

Notes about irregularities of topography, which affect the value of observed gravity but are not shown in sufficient detail on topographic maps, must be recorded in the field. This report illustrates ways to record field notes (distances, heights, and slope angles) and includes computer programs to convert field notes to gravity terrain corrections.

This report includes approaches that may serve as models for other applications, for example: portrayal of system flow; style of quality control to document and validate computer applications; lack of dependence on proprietary software except source code compilation; method of file-searching with a dwindling list; interactive prompting; computer code to write directly in the PostScript (Adobe Systems Incorporated) printer language; and high-lighting the four-digit year on the first line of time-dependent data sets for assured Y2K compatibility.

Computer source codes provided are written in the Fortran scientific language. In order for the programs to operate, they first must be converted (compiled) into an executable form on the user's computer. Although program testing was done in a UNIX (tradename of American Telephone and Telegraph Company) computer environment, it is anticipated that only a system-dependent date-and-time function may need to be changed for adaptation to other computer platforms that accept standard Fortran code.d del iliscipit volorer sequi ting etue feum zzriliquatum zzriustrud esenibh ex esto esequat.

First posted March 31, 2000

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Plouff, Donald, 2000, Field Estimates of Gravity Terrain Corrections and Y2K-Compatible Method to Convert from Gravity Readings with Multiple Base Stations to Tide- and Long-Term Drift-Corrected Observations: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-140, 37 pp.,





Field data format

Steps of reduction process

Additional comments about reduction process

Gravity terrain corrections

Programming considerations


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