Geodesy and the Torsion Balance

by Ivan I. Mueller,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1963, Vol. 89, Issue 3, Pg. 123-156

Document Type: Journal Paper


In the past the Eötvös torsion balance has been used only in commercial geophysical explorations and not for geodetic purposes. Even in geophysics, after approximately 30 yrs of use, it was superseded by the faster, and handier gravimeters. The lack of interest in the geodetic applications can be explained partly by the fact that geodesists of the past did not need very detailed information about the shape of the earth. The torsion balance offers several possibilities in geodetic applications, of which the most important are: The interpolation of deflections of the vertical and of geoid undulations between reference stations, where gravity material is not sufficient; the determination of the geopotential values in a given area for the purpose of leveling reductions; the determination of the radius of curvature of the plumb line for reducing astronomical coordinates to the geoid; and the investigation of curvature properties of the equipotential surface for more accurate baseline reductions to the ellipsoid of reference.

Subject Headings: Material properties | Geodetic surveys | Torsion | Curvature | Surface properties | Displacement (mechanics) | Leveling | Plumbing

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