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Book Chapter

2: Basic Principles

January 01, 1991

Definitions and Conventions

Polarization of Shear Waves

Before considering the more theoretical aspects of seismic wave propagation, we establish some basic definitions required to discuss characteristics of seismic P-waves and S-waves. As is demonstrated later, the physical entity (the divergence of the vector displacement) actually propagating as a seismic P-wave in an isotropic medium may be treated as a scalar quantity, while the physical entity involved in S-wave propagation (the curl of the displacement) is a vector quantity. Thus, seismic S-waves may inherently contain more information than P-waves. More importantly, when both P-wave and S-wave observations are taken together, we have a situation similar to using multiple simultaneous equations, and thus we can address multiple unknowns.

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Figures & Tables


Investigations in Geophysics

Multicomponent Seismology in Petroleum Exploration

R.H Tatham
R.H Tatham
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M.D McCormack
M.D McCormack
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1991




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