Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 82, Issue 9, pp 543–553 | Cite as

Detection of small hydrological variations in gravity by repeated observations with relative gravimeters

  • M. NaujoksEmail author
  • A. Weise
  • C. Kroner
  • T. Jahr
Original Article


Recently, a new application of time-dependent gravity observations is emerging: the study of natural hydrological mass changes and their underlying processes. Complementary to GRACE data and continuous recordings with superconducting gravimeters, repeated observations with relative instruments on a local network may contribute to gain additional information on spatial changes in hydrology. The questions that need to be addressed are whether the results of these repeated measurements will be of sufficiently high resolution and accuracy, as well as how unique the information obtained will be. To examine this, a local gravity network with maximum point distances of 65 m was established in a hilly area around the Geodynamic Observatory Moxa, Germany. Using three to five LaCoste & Romberg relative gravimeters repeated measurements were carried out in a seasonal rhythm as well as at particular events like snowmelt or dryness in 17 campaigns between November 2004 and April 2007. The standard deviations obtained by least squares adjustment range from ±9 to ±14 nm/s2 for a gravity difference of one campaign, thus for gravity changes between two campaigns from ±13 to ±20 nm/s2. Between the points of the network, spatial gravity changes of up to 171 nm/s2 (139 nm/s2 between two successive campaigns) could be proven significantly. They correlate with changes in the local hydrological situation. Particularly, a steep slope next to the observatory is identified as a gravimetrically significant hydrological compartment. The results obtained contribute to an improved reduction of the local hydrological signal in continuous gravity recordings and provide constraints to hydrological models.


Repeated gravity observations Relative gravimeters Least squares adjustment Hydrological variations 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Geophysics, Institute of GeosciencesFriedrich-Schiller-University JenaJenaGermany

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