On the distribution of anomalous mass within the Earth: forward models of the gravitational potential spectrum using ensembles of discrete mass elements

Michael J. Jackson, Henry N. Pollack, Stephen T. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

b We investigate forward models of the gravitational potential spectrum generated by ensembles of discrete sources of anomalous mass, having radial distributions with different statistical properties. Models with a random distribution of point source locations throughout the volume of the mantle produce spectra similar to that of the Earth only when the (absolute) source magnitudes increase strongly with depth, at least as d1.5. The effects of the geographic (latitude‐longitude) distribution of source locations are generally unimportant in determining the general degree dependence of the potential spectrum. The dimensions of the sources are also of secondary importance, at least up to an angular diameter of about 40d̀, i.e., continent‐sized. Sources of this size confined to the upper mantle do not appear capable of producing the degree dependence of the observed geopotential spectrum; the low harmonics (2‐4) in particular appear to require lower mantle sources of considerable strength. Further, at least some of these deep sources must be largely monopolar in nature, (i.e., uncompensated) due to the stronger depth attenuation of dipole (compensated) sources. Because topography on the core‐mantle boundary must be either isostatically or dynamically compensated, it may contribute little strength to the observed potential spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Volume107
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1991

Keywords

  • geodynamics
  • geoid
  • gravity
  • mantle
  • potential

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