Absolute airborne gravimetry: a feasibility study

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We report here the results obtained during a feasibility study that was pursued in order to evaluate the performances of absolute airborne gravimetry. In contrast to relative systems, which use spring-type gravimeters, each measurement acquired by absolute systems is independent from the others and the instrument is not suffering from problems like instrumental drift, frequency response of the spring and variation of the calibration factor. After a validation of the dynamic performance of the experimental setup in a moving truck, a comparison between the experimental airborne data retrieved over the Swiss Alps and those obtained by ground upward continuation at flight altitude allow us to state that airborne absolute gravimetry is feasible. The first test flight shows a spatial resolution comparable to those obtained by relative airborne gravimetry. For a wavelength on the order of 12 km the absolute value of gravity can be evaluated with an uncertainty of 6.9 mGal.

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