A Portable Apparatus for Absolute Measurements of the Earths Gravity

Zumberge, MA, Rinker RL, Faller JE.  1982.  A Portable Apparatus for Absolute Measurements of the Earths Gravity. Metrologia. 18:145-152.


We have developed a new and portable apparatus for making absolute measurements of the acceleration due to the Earth's gravity. We use the method of free fall, and interferometrically determine the acceleration of a freely falling cube corner. In the design and development of this instrument, particular attention was paid to those aspects which would affect its performance in the field. The resulting instrument, we believe, provides a viable new tool for the study of tectonic motions. The system is very small; it can be transported in a small van and requires only two hours for assembly. A high rate of data acquisition is available; if necessary, a single measurement can be made every two seconds. Further, we have made a concerted effort to detect and (we hope) eliminate systematic errors. The results of extensive tests indicate that the achievable accuracy for g is about six parts in 109. This instrument therefore provides a sensitivity to vertical motions (e.g., of the Earth's crust) as small as 2 cm.