Marine Gravity of the Southern-Ocean and Antarctic Margin from Geosat

Sandwell, DT, McAdoo DC.  1988.  Marine Gravity of the Southern-Ocean and Antarctic Margin from Geosat. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 93:10389-&.

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In November of 1986 the U.S. Navy satellite Geosat began collecting unclassified (gravity) altimeter data as part of its exact repeat mission (ERM). For national security reasons the Geosat orbit was arranged so that it closely follows the Seasat satellite altimeter ground track. However, there are two advantages of the Geosat data over the Seasat data. First, because of improvements in altimeter design, Geosat profiles are about 3 times more precise than Seasat profiles. This corresponds to an accuracy of 2–3 μrad (i.e., 2–3 mGal) for wavelengths greater than 20 km. Second, the Geosat altimeter data were collected when the Antarctic ice coverage was minimal (February 1987 to March 1987), while Seasat was only active during an Antarctic winter (June 1978 to September 1978). These new data reveal many previously uncharted seamounts and fracture zones in the extreme southern ocean areas adjacent to Antarctica. Seven large age-offset fracture zones, apparent in the Geosat data, record the early breakup of Gondwana. Finally, the new data reveal the detailed gravity signatures of the passive and active continental margins of Antarctica. These data are an important reconnaissance tool for future studies of these remote ocean areas.