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Journal of Geodetic Science

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Research Article. A new gravity laboratory in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

Assessment of pillars and implications for geodynamical applications

K. Breili
  • Corresponding author
  • Geodetic Institute, Norwegian Mapping Authority, NO-3507 Hønefoss, Norway
  • Faculty of Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), NO-1432, Ås, Norway
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ R. Hougen / D. I. Lysaker / O. C. D. Omang / B. Tangen
Published Online: 2017-05-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jogs-2017-0003


The Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA) has recently established a new gravity laboratory in Ny-Ålesund at Svalbard, Norway. The laboratory consists of three independent pillars and is part of the geodetic core station that is presently under construction at Brandal, approximately 1.5 km north of NMA’s old station. In anticipation of future use of the new gravity laboratory, we present benchmark gravity values, gravity gradients, and final coordinates of all new pillars. Test measurements indicate a higher noise level at Brandal compared to the old station. The increased noise level is attributed to higher sensitivity to wind.We have also investigated possible consequences of moving to Brandal when it comes to the gravitational signal of present-day ice mass changes and ocean tide loading. Plausible models representing ice mass changes at the Svalbard archipelago indicate that the gravitational signal at Brandal may differ from that at the old site with a size detectable with modern gravimeters. Users of gravity data from Ny-Ålesund should, therefore, be cautious if future observations from the new observatory are used to extend the existing gravity record. Due to its lower elevation, Brandal is significantly less sensitive to gravitational ocean tide loading. In the future, Brandal will be the prime site for gravimetry in Ny-Ålesund. This ensures gravity measurements collocated with space geodetic techniques like VLBI, SLR, and GNSS.

Keywords: Glacial isostatic adjustment; gravimetry; loading; Ny-Ålesund


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About the article

Received: 2017-01-03

Accepted: 2017-03-08

Published Online: 2017-05-11

Published in Print: 2017-02-23

Citation Information: Journal of Geodetic Science, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 18–30, ISSN (Online) 2081-9943, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jogs-2017-0003.

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© by K. Breili. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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