Abstract

The vertical offset and the geopotential value over South Africa is estimated on the four fundamental benchmarks in relation to the international height reference system (IHRS). It is estimated to obtain discrepancies between the South African local vertical datum (W_P) and the global vertical datum (W_0). A single-point-based geodetic boundary value problem (GBVP) approach was used following Molodensky theory for estimating the height anomalies from the disturbing potential (T_P) using Bruns’s formula. The gravity potential at each tide gauge benchmark (TGBM) in South Africa deviates from the potential of the global reference surface by 0.589,-1.993,-2.593 and 2.154 m2s-2 for Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, respectively. The corresponding vertical datum offsets between the international height reference system and the four fundamental benchmarks over South Africa are 6.013, -20.347, -26.478, and 21.996 cm for Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, respectively. These offsets can be used for the unification of the South African vertical datum at the four tide gauge benchmarks in a manner that is consistent to the international height reference system.

Key words: Geoid, quasigeoid, geopotential, vertical datum, disturbing potential, height anomaly