Geodetic and geophysical results from a Taiwan airborne gravity survey: Data reduction and accuracy assessment



[1] An airborne gravity survey was conducted over Taiwan using a LaCoste and Romberg (LCR) System II air-sea gravimeter with gravity and global positioning system (GPS) data sampled at 1 Hz. The aircraft trajectories were determined using a GPS network kinematic adjustment relative to eight GPS tracking stations. Long-wavelength errors in position are reduced when doing numerical differentiations for velocity and acceleration. A procedure for computing resolvable wavelength of error-free airborne gravimetry is derived. The accuracy requirements of position, velocity, and accelerations for a 1-mgal accuracy in gravity anomaly are derived. GPS will fulfill these requirements except for vertical acceleration. An iterative Gaussian filter is used to reduce errors in vertical acceleration. A compromising filter width for noise reduction and gravity detail is 150 s. The airborne gravity anomalies are compared with surface values, and large differences are found over high mountains where the gravity field is rough and surface data density is low. The root mean square (RMS) crossover differences before and after a bias-only adjustment are 4.92 and 2.88 mgal, the latter corresponding to a 2-mgal standard error in gravity anomaly. Repeatability analyses at two survey lines suggest that GPS is the dominating factor affecting the repeatability. Fourier transform and least-squares collocation are used for downward continuation, and the latter produces a better result. Two geoid models are computed, one using airborne and surface gravity data and the other using surface data only, and the former yields a better agreement with the GPS-derived geoidal heights. Bouguer anomalies derived from airborne gravity by a rigorous numerical integration reveal important tectonic features.