What is gravity
Transcript What is gravity
IN COROPORATION WITH
GEOLOGY, PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, AND
Definition and Purpose
Basic theory & Units of gravity
Measurements of gravity
Gravity surveying & Gravity reduction
Interpretation of gravity anomalies
Application of gravity surveying
What is gravity?
• The branch of geophysics dealing with the earth’s gravity field
is called gravimetry, sometimes the simple term gravity field is
• Gravity is a force of attraction only between bodies that have
• The word “gravity” comes from
the Latin word “gravis”,
meaning “weight” or “heavy”.
In other word
• Gravity not only must measure gravity,
but also solve many problem of the
processing and interpretation of gravity
data theoretically and practically.
• The strength and direction of
gravity varies according to
position and time.
• By measuring the distribution of gravity
and its change with time it is possible to
– the shape and size of the earth,
– estimate underground construction,
– study the seismic and volcanic
– investigate the viscosity and
elasticity of the earth.
• Newton's Law describes the force of attraction between
two point masses, M1 and M2 separated by r:
• The force per unit mass, F/ M2 defines the gravity field
which is the gravitational acceleration, g, when M1 is the
Earth (Me) and r is the radius of the Earth, Re. So
• The gravitational constant G is:
– 6.67259 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2 ( SI units ), or
– 6.67259 x 10-8 cm3 g-1 s-2
• Results are presented in c.g.s units rather than
• SI unit for g: m/s2
• In c.g.s the unit acceleration, 1.0 cm s-2, is
called the gal (short for Gallileo).
• A convenient subunit for surveys is the milligal,
mgal, 10-3cm s-2.
• Another unit that has been used is the gravity
unit, gu, which is defined as 10-6 m s-2 or 0.1
• Acceleration is defined as the time rate of
change of the speed of a body.
• Speed, sometimes incorrectly referred to as
velocity, is the distance
an object travels divided
by the time it took to
travel that distance
(i.e., meters per second (m/s)).
• Thus, we can measure
the speed of an object by observing the time it
takes to travel a known distance.
• If the speed of the object changes as it
travels, then this change in speed with
respect to time is referred to as
means the object is
moving faster with
means the object is
moving slower with
• Acceleration can be measured by
determining the speed of an object at two
different times and dividing the speed by
the time difference between the two
the units associated
divided by time;
or distance per time per time, or distance
per time squared.
Units of acceleration
• The Earth's gravitational acceleration is
approximately 980 Gals.
• The Gal is named after Galileo Galilei and is
defined as a centimeter per second squared
• The milliGal (mgal) is one thousandth of a Gal.
• In milliGals, the Earth's gravitational
acceleration is approximately 980,000.
• The SI unit which is becoming more widely cited
is the micrometre per second squared, which is
one-tenth of a mGal
How is the Gravitational Acceleration, g,
Related to Geology?
Density is defined as mass per unit volume.
• For example, if we were to calculate the density
of a room filled with people, the density would be
given by the average number of people per unit
space (e.g., per cubic foot) and would have the
units of people per cubic foot. The higher the
number, the more closely spaced are the
• Thus, we would say the room is more densely
packed with people. The units typically used to
describe density of substances are grams per
centimeter cubed (gm/cm3); mass per unit
• Consider a simple
geologic example of an
ore body buried in soil.
We would expect the
density of the ore body,
d2, to be greater than
the density of the
surrounding soil, d1.
• Thus, to represent a
high-density ore body,
we need more point
masses per unit volume
than we would for the
lower density soil*.
• Now, let's qualitatively
describe g by a ball as it is
dropped from a ladder. This
can be calculated by
measuring the time rate of
change of the speed of the
ball as it falls. The size of
the acceleration the ball
undergoes will be
proportional to the number
of close point masses that
are directly below it.
• We're concerned with the close point masses because the
magnitude of the gravitational acceleration varies as one
over the distance between the ball and the point mass
squared. The more close point masses there are directly
below the ball, the larger its acceleration will be.
• We could, therefore, drop
the ball from a number of
different locations, and,
because the number of
point masses below the
ball varies with the location
at which it is dropped, map
out differences in the size
of the gravitational
by the ball caused by
variations in the underlying
• A plot of the gravitational
location is commonly
referred to as a gravity
Importance of Gravity
• 1. Measuring gravity field of the earth.
• 2. Solving many gravimetric problems
– Determination of the correct constants in
the formula derived theoretically for the
normal distribution of the acceleration of
gravity over the earth’s body.
– Explanation of the anomalies of the actual
gravity field of the earth with respect to
the theoretical field
• 3. Applying gravity in surveying and investigating
deposits of useful minerals, and raw materials
such as ores, coal, oil, salt, and sulfides
• 4. Applying gravity during hydrogeologic and
engineering investigations to:
• map regional geologic structure.
• map basement topography and sediment
• map basement faults.
• locate underground caverns.