Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 227–248 | Cite as

Moho depth uncertainties in the Vening-Meinesz Moritz inverse problem of isostasy

  • Mohammad BagherbandiEmail author
  • Robert Tenzer
  • Lars E. Sjöberg


We formulate an error propagation model based on solving the Vening Meinesz-Moritz (VMM) inverse problem of isostasy. The system of observation equations in the VMM model defines the relation between the isostatic gravity data and the Moho depth by means of a second-order Fredholm integral equation of the first kind. The corresponding error model (derived in a spectral domain) functionally relates the Moho depth errors with the commission errors of used gravity and topographic/bathymetric models. The error model also incorporates the non-isostatic bias which describes the disagreement, mainly of systematic nature, between the isostatic and seismic models. The error analysis is conducted at the study area of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas with the world largest crustal thickness. The Moho depth uncertainties due to errors of the currently available global gravity and topographic models are estimated to be typically up to 1–2 km, provided that the GOCE gravity gradient observables improved the medium-wavelength gravity spectra. The errors due to disregarding sedimentary basins can locally exceed ∼2 km. The largest errors (which cause a systematic bias between isostatic and seismic models) are attributed to unmodeled mantle heterogeneities (including the core-mantle boundary) and other geophysical processes. These errors are mostly less than 2 km under significant orogens (Himalayas, Ural), but can reach up to ∼10 km under the oceanic crust.


crust gravity isostasy mantle Moho interface 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics of the ASCR, v.v.i 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Bagherbandi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert Tenzer
    • 3
  • Lars E. Sjöberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Industrial DevelopmentIT and Land Management University of GävleGävleSweden
  2. 2.Division of Geodesy and GeoinformaticsRoyal Institute of Technology (KTH)StockholmSweden
  3. 3.School of Geodesy and GeomaticsWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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