Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1393–1415 | Cite as

Combined Regional Gravity Model of the Andean Convergent Subduction Zone and Its Application to Crustal Density Modelling in Active Plate Margins

  • M. Hosse
  • R. Pail
  • M. Horwath
  • N. Holzrichter
  • B. D. Gutknecht


The Central Andean subduction system is one of the most active geological structures on Earth. Although there have been a few previous studies, the structure and dynamics of the system are still not well understood. In the present study, we determine a combined regional gravity model of the Andean convergent subduction region for constraining lithospheric models. After a thorough validation and cleaning of the terrestrial gravity and height databases, the method of Least Squares Collocation was applied to consistently combine terrestrial and satellite gravity data, putting much emphasis on the stochastic modelling of the individual data components. As a result, we computed the first high-resolution regional gravity model of the study region that includes GOCE satellite gravity information. The inclusion of GOCE is an essential distinction from the independent global gravity model EGM2008. Validation against EGM2008 reveals that our regional solution is very consistent in regions where terrestrial gravity data are available, but shows systematic differences in areas with terrestrial data gaps. Artefacts in the EGM2008 of up to 150 mGal could be identified. The new combined regional model benefits from the very homogeneous error characteristics and accuracy of GOCE gravity data in the long-to-medium wavelengths down to 80–100 km. Reliable density modelling became possible also in the region of Central Andes, which lacks terrestrial gravity data. Finally, density models were adapted to fit the new regional gravity field solution. The results clearly demonstrate the capabilities of GOCE to better constrain lithospheric models.


Subduction GOCE GOCO Least Squares Collocation Terrain correction Density modelling Regional gravity model 



This study has been performed in the frame of the SPP1257 of the German Priority Programme “Mass Transport and Mass Distribution in the System Earth”. The project “Integrated Modelling of Satellite and Airborne Gravity data of Active plate margins” (IMOSAGA) was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). We acknowledge the valuable comments provided by J. Ebbing, a second anonymous reviewer, and the associate editor N. Sneeuw.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Hosse
    • 1
  • R. Pail
    • 1
  • M. Horwath
    • 1
    • 3
  • N. Holzrichter
    • 2
  • B. D. Gutknecht
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Astronomical and Physical GeodesyTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Geophysics, Institute of GeosciencesChristian-Albrechts-Universität KielKielGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Planetare GeodäsieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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