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Title: Moho depth estimation beneath Tibet from satellite gravity data based on a condensation approach
Authors: Chen, W
Tenzer, R 
Xu, X
Wang, S
Wang, B
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Source: Earth and space science, June 2021, v. 8, no. 6, e2020EA001261
Abstract: We develop an algorithm for a Moho depth recovery from gravity and gravity gradiometry data and apply this method to estimate the Moho depth beneath the Tibetan Plateau. The basic idea of this algorithm is to describe mathematically the Moho depth undulations in terms of a condensation layer with respect to a mean Moho depth, instead of applying more commonly used isostatic compensation schemes. Expressions that functionally relate gravity field quantities with a (Moho) condensation layer are derived in spectral and spatial domains. The main advantage of this algorithm is that a functional relation between gravity field quantities and surface density anomalies, and consequently Moho depth undulations, has a linear form. The proposed algorithm is tested using satellite gravity and gravity gradiometry data. The Moho depth (taken with respect to the geoid surface) estimates obtained based on applying this algorithm are validated against global and regional seismic Moho results at the study area of Tibet. We also compare the result with the corresponding Moho depth estimates obtained by applying the Parker–Oldenburg and Vening Meinesz–Moritz (VMM) methods. The validation shows that results from all three gravimetric methods are similar, and they also closely agree with a regional seismic Moho model. Nevertheless, the VMM method and our algorithm in this comparison overperform the Parker–Oldenburg's method. The analysis of results also reveals that the newly developed algorithm provides better result (in terms of the RMS fit with a regional seismic Moho model) when applied for a Moho determination from gravity gradiometry instead of gravity data.
Keywords: Condensation
Crustal structure
Gravity inversion
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Journal: Earth and space science 
EISSN: 2333-5084
DOI: 10.1029/2020EA001261
Rights: © 2021. The Authors. Earth and Space Science published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
The following publication Chen, W., Tenzer, R., Xu, X., Wang, S., & Wang, B. (2021). Moho depth estimation beneath Tibet from satellite gravity data based on a condensation approach. Earth and Space Science, 8, e2020EA001261 is available at
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