Airborne gravity over Lake Vostok and adjacent highlands of East Antarctica

John W. Holt, Thomas G. Richter, Scott D. Kempf, David L. Morse, Donald D. Blankenship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Lake Vostok and a 1200 km transect were the targets of aerogeophysical surveys in East Antarctica during the austral summer of 2000/2001. The measurement of gravity anomalies for geologic studies was the primary goal. A total of 24,459 line-km of data were acquired. Favorable weather, aircraft navigation, and instrument performance contributed to excellent data quality. Multiple carrier-phase GPS solutions to determine aircraft-induced accelerations were available for each flight. Raw gravity and GPS position solutions were initially filtered to compensate for hardware filtering within the gravity meter. Filtering of remaining high-frequency noise was accomplished with a spatial, moving average smoother. Due to upward continuation effects imposed by the ice cover, the theoretically estimated minimum resolvable gravity feature size for the Lake Vostok survey is 8 km, consistent with an analysis of power spectra comparing the gravity signal to noise calculated from geographically repeated lines. Comparison of gravity results with subice topography indicates that the gravity data are sensitive to real features including the existence of major crustal structures. Repeated lines and crossovers were analyzed to estimate uncertainties for the Lake Vostok data set, with both of these repeatability measures indicating relative accuracy in the 2 mGal range for the unleveled data and 1 mGal after leveling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ11012
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Airborne geophysics
  • Antarctica
  • Gravity
  • Lake Vostok

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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