Publications

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1997
Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  1997.  Marine gravity anomaly from Geosat and ERS 1 satellite altimetry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 102:10039-10054.   10.1029/96jb03223   AbstractWebsite

Closely spaced satellite altimeter profiles collected during the Geosat Geodetic Mission (similar to 6 km) and the ERS 1 Geodetic Phase (8 km) are easily converted to grids of vertical gravity gradient and gravity anomaly. The long-wavelength radial orbit error is suppressed below the noise level of the altimeter by taking the along-track derivative of each profile. Ascending and descending slope profiles are then interpolated onto separate uniform grids. These four grids are combined to form comparable grids of east and north vertical deflection using an iteration scheme that interpolates data gaps with minimum curvature. The vertical gravity gradient is calculated directly from the derivatives of the vertical deflection grids, while Fourier analysis is required to construct gravity anomalies from the two vertical deflection grids. These techniques are applied to a combination of high-density data from the dense mapping phases of Geosat and ERS 1 along with lower-density but higher-accuracy profiles from their repeat orbit phases. A comparison with shipboard gravity data shows the accuracy of the satellite-derived gravity anomaly is about 4-7 mGal for random skip tracks. The accuracy improves to 3 mGal when the ship track follows a Geosat Exact Repeat Mission track line. These data provide the first view of the ocean floor structures in many remote areas of the Earth. Some applications include inertial navigation, prediction of seafloor depth, planning shipboard surveys, plate tectonics, isostasy of volcanoes and spreading ridges, and petroleum exploration.

1994
Smith, WHF, Sandwell DT.  1994.  Bathymetric Prediction from Dense Satellite Altimetry and Sparse Shipboard Bathymetry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 99:21803-21824.   10.1029/94jb00988   AbstractWebsite

The southern oceans (south of 30 degrees S) are densely covered with satellite-derived gravity data (track spacing 2-4 km) and sparsely covered with shipboard depth soundings (hundreds of kilometers between tracks in some areas). Flexural isostatic compensation theory suggests that bathymetry and downward continued gravity data may show linear correlation in a band of wavelengths 15-160 km, if sediment cover is thin and seafloor relief is moderate. At shorter wavelengths, the gravity field is insensitive to seafloor topography because of upward continuation from the seafloor to the sea surface; at longer wavelengths, isostatic compensation cancels out most of the gravity field due to the seafloor topography. We combine this theory with Wiener optimization theory and empirical evidence for gravity noise-to-signal ratios to design low-pass and band-pass filters to use in predicting bathymetry from gravity. The prediction combines long wavelengths (> 160 km) from low-pass-filtered soundings with an intermediate-wavelength solution obtained from multiplying downward continued, band-pass filtered (15-160 km) gravity data by a scaling factor S. S is empirically determined from the correlation between gravity data and existing soundings in the 15-160 km band by robust regression and varies at long wavelengths. We find that areas with less than 200 m of sediment cover show correlation between gravity and bathymetry significant at the 99% level, and S may be related to the density of seafloor materials in these areas. The prediction has a horizontal resolution limit of 5-10 km in position and is within 100 m of actual soundings at 50% of grid points and within 240 m at 80% of these. In areas of very rugged topography the prediction underestimates the peak amplitudes of seafloor features. Images of the prediction reveal many tectonic features not seen on any existing bathymetric charts. Because the prediction relies on the gravity field at wavelengths < 160 km, it is insensitive to errors in the navigation of sounding lines but also cannot completely reproduce them. Therefore it may be used to locate tectonic features but should not be used to assess hazards to navigation. The prediction is available from the National Geophysical Data Center in both digital and printed form.