Time-lapse gravity data provide a direct, non-destructive method to monitor mass changes at scales from cm to km. But, the effectively infinite spatial sensitivity of gravity measurements can make it difficult to isolate the signal of interest. The variable-baseline gravity gradient method, based on the difference of measurements between two gravimeters, is an alternative to the conventional approach of individually modeling all sources of mass and elevation change. This approach can improve the signal-to-noise ratio for many applications by removing the contributions of Earth tides, loading, and other signals that have the same effect on both gravimeters. At the same time, this approach can focus the support volume within a relatively small user-defined region of the subsurface. The method is demonstrated using paired superconducting gravimeters to make for the first time a large-scale, non-invasive measurement of infiltration wetting front velocity and change in water content above the wetting front.
Additional publication details
Direct measurement of sub-surface mass change using the variable-baseline gravity gradient method