Applications of time-lapse gravity

Studies of gravity tides reveal information about the large-scale structure of Earth’s interior. The gravity changes associated with rebound of the crust after glaciers receded at end of the last ice age is an example of a very gradual gravity change, helping to understand the related lithospheric processes.

On a smaller scale in both depth and area, time-lapse gravity has been used for such varied applications as ground water management, hydrothermal energy exploitation, volcanology, waste management and, lastly, oil and gas production:

  • High-precision time-lapse micro-gravity monitoring has been used in hydrothermal reservoirs to determine the water level.
  • Stationary relative gravimeters with low drift have been recording on the tops of volcanoes to determine changes in magma chambers and thereby predict eruptions.
  • Waste management, as oil and gas producers perform sequestration of CO2 in the North Sea at the Sleipner Field.
  • Oil & gas production, mainly to determine water influx in gas reservoirs.


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Related Publications

Sugihara, M. and Ishido, T.
2008: Geothermal reservoir monitoring with a
combination of absolute and relative gravimetry,
Geophysics 73, 6, WA37-WA47.

Battaglia, M., Gottsmann, J.,
Carbone, D. and Fernández, J.
[2008 4D volcano gravimetry. Geophysics, 73,

Williams-Jones, G., Rymer, H., Mauri, G.,
Gottsmann, J., Poland, M. and Carbone, D.
2008 Towards continuous 4D microgravity monitoring
of volcanoes. Geophysics, 73, WA19-WA28.

H. Alnes, O. Eiken, S. Nooner, T. Stenvold and M. Zumberge. 2011: Results from Sleipner gravity monitoring: updated density and temperature distribution of the CO2 plume. Energy Procedia, Volume 4, 2011, Pages 5504-5511.

Brady J. L., Hare J.L. Ferguson, J.F., Seibert J.E., Klopping, F.J., Chen, T. and Niebauer, T. 2008: Results of the World’s First 4D Microgravity Surveillance of a Waterflood – Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. SPE 101762, 824-831.

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