Since the gravity measurements taken by GOCE reflect density variations in the Earth's interior, the resulting data will lead to new insights into processes occurring in the lithosphere and upper mantle – down to a depth of about 200 km.
This detailed mapping along with seismic data is expected to shed new light on the processes causing earthquakes and volcanic activity and potentially lead to an improvement in the prediction of such events.
GOCE will also further our knowledge of land uplift due to post-glacial rebound. This process describes how Earth's crust is rising a few centimetres in Scandinavia and Canada as it has been relieved of the weight of thick ice sheets since the last Ice Age – when the heavy load caused the crust to depress. As a result, there is global redistribution of water in the oceans.
Hence, a better understanding of these processes will help in assessing the potential dangers of current sea-level change.
Last update: 16 September 2010