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High precision leveling supporting the International Comparison of Absolute Gravimeters

Abstract : High precision levelling is an indispensable method used to monitor benchmark and terrain stability at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). Associated with the International Comparison of Absolute Gravimeters (ICAG), levelling measurements were carried out repeatedly over the past decades. A local gravity field strongly depends on vertical terrain deformation. 1 cm displacement implies about 2 μGal change in the vertical gravity acceleration. The precision of absolute and relative gravimetry nowadays is about 1 μGal. At the beginning of the century, a strategy was outlined that the ICAG should be upgraded to a metrological Key Comparison of the CIPM MRA (Mutual Recognition Arrangement) recognized officially by the designated governmental organizations. As a result of this decision, BIPM site B was constructed and completed in Spring 2001. The site B pillar is 4m × 6m × 1.5m in dimension and more than 80 ton in weight. Such a large, newly built concrete body produces local deformation due to its sinking or tilting. This in turn influences the local gravity field. Rigorous levelling measurements have been performed by the Bureau de Recherches G'eologiques et Mini'eres (BRGM), France, since 2001 and repeated together with the 4-year ICAGs of 2001, 2005 and 2009. ICAG-2009 was characterized by becoming the first Comit'e International des Poids et Mesures (CIPM) Key Comparison which supported meanwhile the BIPM watt balance (WB) project. The WB pillar was built in Spring 2009. The Institut G'eographique National (IGN), France, has hence been invited to participate in the levelling. The latter also measured the link between the BIPM local network and external stations of the French national height reference system IGN69. In this paper, we report the final results of the levelling programmes of 2001, 2005 and 2009 and compare the results. We investigate stability of the BIPM gravity-levelling stations. We conclude that the existing and the newly built stations can be considered as stable for the purposes of the ICAGs and the WB, although further repeat measurement may be required for the WB site. For the first time, detailed and complete levelling data and results are published5. After 30 years of organizing and holding eight ICAGs, the BIPM will hand over the KC ICAG-2013 to another CIPM MRA designated institute. This paper serves as a technical and historical report of precision levelling, a sub-task of the ICAGs.
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Contributeur : Philippe Jousset <>
Soumis le : lundi 21 novembre 2011 - 17:08:00
Dernière modification le : mercredi 9 septembre 2020 - 17:54:02
Archivage à long terme le : : mercredi 22 février 2012 - 02:31:13


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Zhiheng Jiang, Michel Becker, Philippe Jousset, A. Coulomb, L. Tisserand, et al.. High precision leveling supporting the International Comparison of Absolute Gravimeters. Metrologia, IOP Publishing, 2012, 49, pp.41-48. ⟨10.1088/0026-1394/49/1/007⟩. ⟨hal-00643379⟩



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