Vol. 18 (2015) > lrr-2015-3

doi: 10.1007/lrr-2015-3
Living Rev. Relativity 18 (2015), 3

Terrestrial Gravity Fluctuations

1 Università degli Studi di Urbino ‘Carlo Bo’, 61029 Urbino, Italy

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Article Abstract

Different forms of fluctuations of the terrestrial gravity field are observed by gravity experiments. For example, atmospheric pressure fluctuations generate a gravity-noise foreground in measurements with super-conducting gravimeters. Gravity changes caused by high-magnitude earthquakes have been detected with the satellite gravity experiment GRACE, and we expect high-frequency terrestrial gravity fluctuations produced by ambient seismic fields to limit the sensitivity of ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Accordingly, terrestrial gravity fluctuations are considered noise and signal depending on the experiment. Here, we will focus on ground-based gravimetry. This field is rapidly progressing through the development of GW detectors. The technology is pushed to its current limits in the advanced generation of the LIGO and Virgo detectors, targeting gravity strain sensitivities better than 10^–23 Hz^–1/2 above a few tens of a Hz. Alternative designs for GW detectors evolving from traditional gravity gradiometers such as torsion bars, atom interferometers, and superconducting gradiometers are currently being developed to extend the detection band to frequencies below 1 Hz. The goal of this article is to provide the analytical framework to describe terrestrial gravity perturbations in these experiments. Models of terrestrial gravity perturbations related to seismic fields, atmospheric disturbances, and vibrating, rotating or moving objects, are derived and analyzed. The models are then used to evaluate passive and active gravity noise mitigation strategies in GW detectors, or alternatively, to describe their potential use in geophysics. The article reviews the current state of the field, and also presents new analyses especially with respect to the impact of seismic scattering on gravity perturbations, active gravity noise cancellation, and time-domain models of gravity perturbations from atmospheric and seismic point sources. Our understanding of terrestrial gravity fluctuations will have great impact on the future development of GW detectors and high-precision gravimetry in general, and many open questions need to be answered still as emphasized in this article.

Keywords: Wiener filter, Terrestrial gravity, Mitigation, Newtonian noise

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Since a Living Reviews in Relativity article may evolve over time, please cite the access <date>, which uniquely identifies the version of the article you are referring to:

Jan Harms,
"Terrestrial Gravity Fluctuations",
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Article History

ORIGINAL http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2015-3
Title Terrestrial Gravity Fluctuations
Author Jan Harms
Date accepted 16 November 2015, published 2 December 2015
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