We analyze the sensitivity of seismic reflectivity to contrasts in density, seismic propagation velocities, Poisson's ratio, and gas saturation using the complete Zoeppritz equations. Sensitivities of reflection coefficients to each bulk elastic parameter are computed as the partial derivatives of the seismic reflectivities, relative to each parameter. The sensitivity of reflectivity to gas saturation is then calculated as the full derivative of the reflectivities with respect to gas saturation, assuming both a homogeneous and a patchy distribution of gas in the pore fluids. We compute sensitivities for a sealing shale/gas-sand interface and a gas-sand/wet-sand (gas-water contact, GWC) interface. For the SH-SH reflectivity, the effect of density contrast is strongest in the 30°–50° range of incidence angles for the fluid-fluid interface and at nearer offsets for the shale/gas-sand interface. P-SV reflectivity forthe fluid-fluid interfaces is more sensitive to density contrast in the range of angles of incidence from 30° to 60°. The overall response of P-SV reflectivity to gas saturation throughout all offsets is dominated by the Poisson's ratio of the gas sand. In the case of P-P reflectivity, the sensitivity to gas saturation increases with increasing incidence angles. The sensitivity of P-SV reflectivity to gas saturation tends to be greatest in the 20°–40° range of incidence angles. For SH-SH reflectivity, the sensitivity to gas saturation for most offsets is controlled mainly by the density contrast, and the sensitivity to density decreases with increasing offset. There is still not a generally accepted seismic reflection method to discriminate commercial gas concentrations from low gas saturation. From the sensitivity analysis, we conclude that the use of P-SV or SH-SH amplitude variation with offset (AVO), integrated with the P-P AVO, will be an essential element in understanding this problem fully.