An update video on the MEMS gravimeter
Posted on 13 December 2020

The UNIGLA-IGR team has made significant progress on the development of the MEMS gravimeter to be utilized in the NEWTON-g’s gravity imager. An update video from the team, giving an overview of the device features and the progress in laboratory and environmental testing that has been conducted so far, can be accessed from this link.
The current version of the device, called Wee-g, has been designed specifically for the NEWTON-g project. Several key features, such as its size, robustness, functionality and temperature control, have been designed to withstand the harsh environment in the summit of Mt Etna.

The first NEWTON-g paper is out!
Posted on 14 October 2020

The paper entitled “The NEWTON-g Gravity Imager: Toward New Paradigms for Terrain Gravimetry”, authored by the consortium of the project, has been published in Frontiers of Earth Science. This article is an open access publication and can be reached through this link. In the paper we provide a complete insight into the rationale and objectives of NEWTON-g and present the actions that have been taken and are planned for the near future, towards the development of the gravity imager and its installation on Mt. Etna.

AQG-B03 alive and kicking on Etna
Posted on 22 September 2020

Less than two months after its installation at the Pizzi Deneri Volcanological Observatory (2800m elevation; upper northeastern flank of Mt. Etna), where it has measured continuously at 2 Hz rate, AQG-B03 has already shown its potential to provide useful information on volcano-related subsurface mass changes. Despite the high level of volcanic tremor that characterizes the installation site, the performance of the gravimeter are beyond expectations! Indeed, meaningful gravity changes of limited amplitude have already been spotted over time scales between some hours and a few days. No instrumental drift has been observed so far.

Top left: The AQG-B03 at PDN. It is installed on a concrete pillar, rooted in the rock underlying the building.
Top right: One of the domes of the PDN observatory. The summit craters of Etna appear in the background. Position of PDN shown in the inset.
Right: Time series of gravity during a ~1-month interval (top: raw data dominated by earth tide; bottom: residual and low-pass filtered data).

 

The AQG-B on its way to Etna!
Posted on 14 July 2020

The field version of the Absolute Quantum Gravimeter (AQG-B), developed by MUQUANS in the framework of NEWTON-g, is now on its way to Catania. Once it is delivered, we’ll acquire a time series of gravity data at the Grav-Lab of INGV-OE for a few days, to check whether everything is alright with the instrument after the travel from France to Italy. If the AQG-B is proven to be in good health, it will be moved to the Pizzi Deneri Volcanological Observatory (2800 m elevation), where it will continuously acquire absolute gravity data at a distance of only about 2.5 km from the active summit craters of Etna. The volcanic tremor at this location is very intense and the main hurdle for the AQG-B will be to demonstrate that it can reject such high ground vibration noise. This will be the first quantum gravimeter being utilized on an active volcano and the first absolute gravimeter performing continuous measurements in close vicinity to active volcanic structures!

Impact of COVID-19 on the development of the MEMS gravimeter
Posted on 30 June 2020

Like many projects, the timeline of NEWTON-g has taken a significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of the 23rd of March 2020, the University of Glasgow shut all its research facilities to staff and students, in line with advice from the UK and Scottish Governments. This meant the UNIGLA-IGR group no longer had access to the Kelvin building, where the majority of research and testing on the MEMS gravimeter was being carried out, and to the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), where the fabrication and assembly of the device happens. Only a limited number of tests could be carried out remotely on the MEMS gravimeter; however, without access to the Kelvin building to make significant changes, the amount of R&D that can be performed is extremely limited.

From the 1st of July, the University of Glasgow will gradually open up research facilities, but with significant restrictions in place, in accordance with the Scottish Government’s guidelines. These measures are expected to have a significant impact on the ability to carry out the necessary R&D in a time efficient manner. As a consequence, our deployment schedule in the summer of 2020 has been severely affected. It is hoped that, through the upcoming months, some of these restrictions will gradually be lifted to allow the UNIGLA-IGR group get back to its full working capabilities.

 

A fruitful and productive meeting in Catania
Posted on 16 February 2020

The “pre-deployment” meeting in Catania was a great occasion to share, among the partners, information on the state of progress of the different components involved in the implementation of NEWTON-g and address all issues relevant to the field-test at Etna during the last two years of the project. We also held our 3rd General Assembly and had a relaxing social dinner in the city center of Catania.

Pre-deployment meeting at INGV-OE
Posted on 16 January 2020

During 5 to 7 February 2020, the NEWTON-g consortium will meet at the headquarters of INGV-OE (Catania, Italy). The meeting is aimed to discuss the relevant issues related to the deployment of the gravity imager on Etna (summer of 2020). In particular, we’ll discuss the state of the art of the current project phase (production of the instrumentation) and will prepare a detailed plan for the deployment, including schedule of the joint tests involving different components of the gravity imager.

NEWTON-g-related session at the EGU 2020 General Assembly
Posted on 9 January 2020

The NEWTON-g consortium is organizing a session of the EGU General Assembly 2020, in the framework of the Geodesy programme group. The session is entitled “New tools for terrain gravimetry” and aims at bringing together experts in terrain gravimetry, applied to different fields (hydrology, volcanology, resource exploitation), to discuss the state of the art and the opportunities offered by recent developments in instrumentation and methodology. Abstracts can be submitted to the session through this link. The submission deadline is 15 Jenuary.

The NEWTON-g video is out!
Posted on 4 October 2019

The NEWTON-g video has now been released!! It can be accessed from our homepage, or directly from the YouTube channel of the project. Short excerpts from the main video have also been published in our Twitter and Facebook pages.
We are grateful to Gordon Ballantyne, the Glasgow-based filmmaker who cured all the phases of the video production, from the interviews to representatives of the project partners, to the final editing.

NEWTON-g presented at the 5th IAG Symposium on Terrestrial Gravimetry
Posted on 4 October 2019

In the framework of the 5th IAG Symposium on Terrestrial Gravimetry: Static and Mobile Measurements (TG-SMM 2019), that was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, between 1 and 4 October 2019, Filippo Greco (INGV) gave an oral presentation on the work that is being carried out under NEWTON-g.

The new MEMS gravimeter presented in Japan
Posted on 23 September 2019

Prof. Giles Hammond (University of Glasgow) travelled to Japan in September 2019, as part of a British Embassy delegation focussing on quantum technologies. During the visit he discussed the work on the relative MEMS gravimeter which is being readied for NEWTON-g deployment in mid 2020!

Pre-deployment field tests
Posted on 5 September 2019

During the last weeks, the INGV team ran several field tests in the summit zone of Etna, aimed at checking the performance of the chosen components for the power, data acquisition and data transmission systems, that will be parts of the MEMS pixels in the gravity imager. Furthermore, tests were carried out to check the reliability of the design for the field infrastructure that will host the MEMS gravimeters during operation at Etna. We look forward to deploying the gravity imager next year!

Looking for installation sites in the summit crater zone of Etna
Posted on 5 July 2019

On 28 June, Eleonora Rivalta (GFZ), Mehdi Nikkhoo (GFZ), Mathijs Koymans (KNMI), Daniele Carbone (INGV), and Filippo Greco (INGV) went on a field trip to the summit area of Etna. The main aim of this field trip was to check whether suitable installation sites for the MEMS gravimeters are available in close vicinity to the sites (yellow marks in the figure), resulting from the numerical procedure developed by the GFZ team. This algorithm is aimed at retrieving the optimal configuration of the gravimeters forming the “gravity imager” of NEWTON-g. Only in some cases possible installation sites were found within a few meters from the “theoretical” ones. These findings will inform further runs of the numeric procedure, towards the final configuration of the “gravity imager”.

Article in the May 2019 issue of “La Recherche” magazine
Posted on 26 May 2019

An article in the May 2019 issue (n° 574) of “La Recherche” magazine (in French), entitled “Des atomes pour sonder la gravité”, focuses on the development of Muquans’ cold-atom gravimeter and its field-test at Etna volcano, in the framework of NEWTON-g. You can read the article by following this link.

New meteo sensors in the summit zone of Etna
Posted on 13 May 2019

In order to precisely evaluate the effect that changes in groundwater mass may have on gravity changes observed in the summit zone of Etna, we installed new meteo sensors at La Montagnola hut (MNT; 2600m a.s.l.). This is the site at higher elevation hosting one of the three instruments in Etna’s mini-array of superconducting gravimeters (Carbone et al., 2019).
In view of the fied-test of the NEWTON-g gravity imager, the information provided by these sensors will enhance our ability to correct the gravity time series from Etna for the effect of groundwater mass, thus retrieving changes due to volcanic processes.

The picture shows the heated rain gauge (able to also measure the water equivalent of solid precipitations) and the air temperature/humidity transducer that were installed, together with an underground probe measuring the soil volumetric water content. These sensors are based on the MODBUS protocol and use RS485 communication to an Arduino module for data collection.

 

A busy week in Vienna
Posted on 16 April 2019

Besides giving two oral and one poster presentations about the recent developments of the project, the NEWTON-g consortium engaged in other activities during the EGU 2019 week in Vienna (7–12 April 2019). Indeed, we held our 2nd General Assembly on the 9th, where we discussed several issues related to the future implementation of NEWTON-g. Furthermore, G. Ballantyne, the filmmaker in charge of producing the teaser movie of NEWTON-g, shot interviews to eight members of the consortium. We also managed to organize a social NEWTON-g dinner!

In the pictures, clockwise from top-left, Daniele giving an oral presentation on NEWTON-g, Laura presenting the NEWTON-g poster, Jean being interviewed for the short video of the project, Elske, Mehdi and Richerd discussing during a inter-session break of the EGU meeting.

NEWTON-g @ the EGU 2019 General Assembly (Vienna, Austria, 7–12 April 2019)
Posted on 21 March 2019

The activities under NEWTON-g will be in the focus of three presentation at the EGU 2019 General Assembly:

The NEWTON-g gravity imager: a new window into sub-surface fluid displacement
Tue, 09 Apr, 14:00 - 15:45, Hall X1 (Session: GI1.1)

Aplication of newly developed gravimeters to monitor and study active volcanoes: the NEWTON-g project
Thu, 11 Apr, 08:30 - 08:45, Room 2.21 (Session: GMPV5.2)

Optimization of network configuration for an array of low-cost gravimeters at Mount Etna
Thu, 11 Apr, 08:45 - 09:00, Room 2.21 (Session: GMPV5.2)

An update on NEWTON-g, given at the Institut de Physique de Globe de Paris
Posted on 14 February 2019

An update on the state of advancement of NEWTON-g was given last Monday (11 February) in the framework of the Workshop on Observatory Synergies for Astroparticle physics and Geoscience (IPGP, Paris). Jean Lautier-Gaud, Giles Hammond and Daniele Carbone presented the background, motivation, and targets of NEWTON-g, as well as the state of development of the MEMS and quantum devices.

NEWTON-g @ the Workshop on Observatory Synergies for Astroparticle physics and Geoscience
Posted on 4 February 2019

In the framework of the Workshop on Observatory Synergies for Astroparticle physics and Geoscience, that will be held at the Institut de Physique de Globe de Paris on 11 and 12 February 2019, we will present the background, motivation and specific objectives of NEWTON-g. The 2-day workshop is organized by APPEC, GEO-8 and Academia Europaea, in the presence of key science PIs and stakeholder agencies representatives. It is meant to foster the synergy between Geosciences and Astroparticle Physics. All the information about the workshop, including rationale and timetable, can be found here.

Season's Greetings
Posted on 22 December 2018

The NEWTON-g consortium wishs you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

NEWTON-g at AGU Fall Meeting 2018
Posted on 6 December 2018

Next week, NEWTON-g will be represented at the AGU fall meeting in Washington!
Muquans will give an oral presentation on Friday, December 14th about quantum gravimetry and how it can be used to monitor volcanic activity. We will be hosted by session G013: Gravity Field Determination: Acquisition, Processing, and Geodetic Applications of Terrestrial, Marine, and Airborne Gravity Data (abstract).

A fruitful workshop!
Posted on 12 October 2018

The first workshop of NEWTON-g, held at Potsdam (Germany) on 9 and 10 October 2018, was a really fruitful, interesting and well organized one!
On the 9th, the consortium met in the conference room of GFZ section 2.1 and discussed issues related to the state of advancement of the project, the upcoming deliverables and milestones. The end of the meeting day was devoted to group discussions, focused on particular aspects of the project implementation.
On the 10th, the workshop was hosted at the Bildungsforum in Potsdam, where the project partners met scientists from different institutions. The vision and objectives of the project were thoughtfully presented by the consortium members to the audience of gravity enthusiasts and then a discussion was held on scientific and technical issues related to the implementation of NEWTON-g.
We are grateful to Eleonora and Mehdi (GFZ) for organizing and hosting the workshop and to all the colleagues who joined us on the 10th, for the precious feedback they provided.
The pictures below show Richard (up; UNIGLA-IGR) and Jean (down; MUQUANS) telling us about the beauty of the MEMS and quantum devices in the measuring system proposed by NEWTON-g.

Kick off workshop of NEWTON-g (9 and 10 October 2018 - GFZ, Germany)
Posted on 21 September 2018

The first workshop of NEWTON-g will be held in the facilities of GFZ (Potsdam, Germany), on 9 and 10 October 2018. During the first day, the consortium will discuss internally issues concerning the state of advancement of the project and upcoming deadlines. During the second day (10 October; 09:00 – 15:00), the workshop will be open to participants from outside the consortium. The agenda of the second workshop day can be found here.

Welcome, Mehdi!
Posted on 14 September 2018

On 1 September, Mehdi Nikkhoo has joined the “Magma propagation” research group led by Eleonora Rivalta at GFZ, to work on task 4.3 (Numerical modelling) of NEWTON-g. His task is defining the temporal variations in the gravity field expected at Mt Etna during subsurface mass redistributions linked to magmatic activity. The synthetic signals from the modelling will be at first validated based on the recordings from INGV gravity network, and later applied to interpret the data produced by the NEWTON-g gravity imager.
Mehdi did his M.Sc. studies in geodesy concentrating on regional gravity field modeling and geoid determination through combining satellite gravity models and heterogeneous terrestrial data. He then pursued his Ph.D. research in volcano geodesy with the focus on developing new analytical and numerical techniques for modelling crustal deformations. He has routinely utilized these modelling techniques to constrain the location, geometry and intensity of various magmatic and tectonic processes through inverting the ground deformation signals that they produced (www.volcanodeformation.com).

 

Etna field trip
Posted on 13 August 2018

On 20 June 2018, a field trip was arranged, involving the project partners and aimed at visiting possible sites on the summit zone of Etna where the “gravity imager” could be installed. In spite of unfavourable weather conditions, it was possible to reach most candidate installation sites (at elevations up to 2600m), thus getting a clear idea of the ambient conditions that the measuring system will have to withstand.

 

NEWTON-g kick-off meeting
Posted on 13 August 2018

The kick-off meeting of NEWTON-g was held on June 18 and 19, 2018, in the Catania Section (Osservatorio Etneo) of INGV. The main objectives of the meeting were (i) setting the official start of the project, (ii) establishing direct relations among the project partners, (iii) discuss the specific actions to be carried out in the following months, and (iv) providing details on administrative issues. The final agenda of the meeting can be found here.