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A method based on Zvolinskii's “near-front” approximation is given for calculating amplitudes of refraction arrivals. The theory has been checked to a limited extent with measured amplitudes of seismic waves from nuclear explosions, and agreement is good. To illustrate a possible use of the method in refraction prospecting for oil, calculations are made for a model geologic section based on well data from the Edwards Plateau in West Texas. The calculations show that layering above a refractor can materially change the character of the refraction arrival. It is shown how this character change may be useful as an indicator of structure in the refractor.

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