Gravity measurement to probe the depth of African-continental crust over a north-south profile: theory and modeling

Hakim Saibi, Nacir Tit, Mohamed Abdel Zaher, Jean d.Amour Uwiduhaye, Mohamed Amrouche, Walid Farhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based upon gravity measurements and calculations, the depth of the African continental crust is estimated. Taking as constraints the mass and radius of earth, and measured gravity, this theoretical method explores the use of gravitational potential to calculate the absolute gravity at three locations in Africa (e.g., Cape Town at latitude -34o, central Africa at latitude 0, and Benghazi at latitude 32o). The computational method uses as input a continental crust density ρ1 = 2.65–2.75 g/cm3 while compromising the oceanic crust density ρ2 to maintain the average crust density of the planet fixed at <ρ12> = 2.60 g/cm3. Crustal depth is assumed uniform around the earth and kept as a free parameter to adjust for the best fitting of gravity but using values of less than 100 km. A solid angle αo is a solid angle whose vertex is at the center of earth used to separate continental and oceanic crusts (αo = 10o, 20o, 35o). The results obtained for the continental crust were H = 36 km near continental edges at both Benghazi and Cape Town, whereas H = 44.4 km at the center of continent. These results are in excellent agreement with those reported by Tedla and coworkers (H = 39 ± 5 km) using an Euler deconvolution method. Our theoretical results from the developed code are also corroborated by results of numerical forward modeling supporting our code's reliability for further geoscience explorations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08776
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Computation
  • Crust
  • Forward modelling
  • Gravity
  • Potential field
  • Thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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