A one-year project funded by European Space Agency (ESA) that aimed at investigating the potential benefit of satellite-derived gravity data from the Next Generation Gravity Mission (NGGM) on Solid Earth studies.

Principal Investigator

Prof. Roberto Sabadini.

Research Units

University of Milan: Roberto Sabadini, Anna Maria Marotta and Gabriele Cambiotti.

Institute of Geodesy of Stuttgart: Nico Sneeuw and Karim Douch.

Thales Alenia Space – Italy: Roberto Anselmi and Stefano Cesare.


The Gravitational Seismology aims to present a theoretical framework by which the Solid Earth processes leading to earthquakes can be recognized and interpreted from their gravity field signature as detected by satellites.

The proposed approach builds on a method developed in recent years at the University of Milano, combining the physico-mathematical modelling of active tectonics and of the seismic cycle with geodetic data in constraining the mechanisms responsible for crustal deformation and stress accumulation. Distinctive time-varying gravity and geoid signals apply to the active tectonic processes (subduction, collision, extension) leading to earthquakes of different characteristics (thrust, normal and/or strike slip) throughout the whole earthquake cycle, each phenomenon being categorized by a time scale and characteristic wavelength. The method had already been validated on very large magnitude earthquakes (Mw = 9) as detected by the GOCE and GRACE satellite missions. As part of the activity subject of this report, it was extended to earthquakes of lower magnitude (Mw = 7 to 9) as will be detected by the NGGM under study at ESA.

The Gravitational Seismology study activity was kicked off in Milano on April 5, 2018 and was concluded with a Final Presentation at ESRIN on June 11-12, 2019.

Data access

Synthetic model of the time-variable gravity field of the Earth due to earthquakes


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