Gravimetry for geodesy and geodynamics - brief historical review

Jan Krynski


For last two centuries the role of gravity measurements in
geodesy was continuously growing with the development of physical geodesy, growing needs for precise geodetic products and progress in technology. A very condensed historical review of gravimetric surveys with their uncertainty characteristics is given in the paper. It starts with single gravity measurements using simple pendulum through the application of reversible pendulum up to four-pendulum apparatus. Superiority of
relative gravity survey over absolute gravity survey using pendulum has been highlighted. Further, the development of static spring gravimeters is briefly presented followed by precise ballistic gravimeters that provide more accurate gravity than relative gravity survey and become a valuable tool for geodynamic research. The concept of superconducting gravimeter and its role in geodynamic research is highlighted. Special emphasis is given to the portable free-fall gravimeter A10 designed for field survey. Also the achievements in the direction of developing atomic absolute gravimeters are briefly mentioned.
The evolution of the concept and realization of the gravity control is discussed on the background of the progress in gravimetry, paying special attention on its scale and gravity level. It is illustrated with some examples of evolving Polish national gravity control. Finally an attempt to formulate the concept of modern gravity control is presented.


gravimetry; pendulum; gravimeter; geodesy; geodynamics

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