Microgravity vertical gradient measurement in the site of VIRGO interferometric antenna (Pisa plain, Italy)

P. Stefanelli, C. Carmisciano, F. Caratori Tontini, L. Cocchi, N. Beverini, F. Fidecaro, D. Embriaco


The site of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) located in the countryside near Pisa (Tuscany, Italy) was investigated by a microgravity vertical gradient (MVG) survey. The EGO site houses the VIRGO interferometric antenna for gravitational waves detection. The microgravity survey aims to highlight the gravity anomalies of high-frequency related to more superficial geological sources in order to obtain a detailed model of the lithologic setting of the VIRGO site, that will allow an estimate of the noise induced by seismic waves and by Newtonian interference. This paper presents the results of the gradiometric survey of 2006 in the area of the interferometric antenna. MVG measurements allow us to enhance the high frequency signal strongly associated with the shallow structures. The gradient gravity map shows a main negative pattern that seems related to the trending of the high density layer of gravel that was evidenced in geotechnical drillings executed along the orthogonal arms during the construction of the VIRGO complex. Calibrating the relationship between the vertical gradient and the depth of the gravel interface we have computed a model of gravity gradient for the whole VIRGO site, defining the 3D distribution of the top surface of this layer. This latter shows a NE-SW negative pattern that may represent a palaeo-bed alluvial of the Serchio from the Bientina River system.


Microgravity vertical gradient;near surface geology;gravity modeling

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-4459
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X