Forward modelling of global gravity fields with 3D density structures and an application to the high-resolution (~ 2 km) gravity fields of the Moon
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© 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature Rigorous modelling of the spherical gravitational potential spectra from the volumetric density and geometry of an attracting body is discussed. Firstly, we derive mathematical formulas for the spatial analysis of spherical harmonic coefficients. Secondly, we present a numerically efficient algorithm for rigorous forward modelling. We consider the finite-amplitude topographic modelling methods as special cases, with additional postulates on the volumetric density and geometry. Thirdly, we implement our algorithm in the form of computer programs and test their correctness with respect to the finite-amplitude topography routines. For this purpose, synthetic and realistic numerical experiments, applied to the gravitational field and geometry of the Moon, are performed. We also investigate the optimal choice of input parameters for the finite-amplitude modelling methods. Fourth, we exploit the rigorous forward modelling for the determination of the spherical gravitational potential spectra inferred by lunar crustal models with uniform, laterally variable, radially variable, and spatially (3D) variable bulk density. Also, we analyse these four different crustal models in terms of their spectral characteristics and band-limited radial gravitation. We demonstrate applicability of the rigorous forward modelling using currently available computational resources up to degree and order 2519 of the spherical harmonic expansion, which corresponds to a resolution of ~ 2.2 km on the surface of the Moon. Computer codes, a user manual and scripts developed for the purposes of this study are publicly available to potential users.
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