Love wave dispersion and associated analytic partial derivatives are theoretically derived using the reflection/transmission (R/T) method. The numerical implementation is then applied to linearised inversion of synthetic and field data. For simple cases dominated by the fundamental mode, Love wave sensitivity and inversion stability is higher than the Rayleigh wave dispersion. However, in general, Rayleigh wave inversion converges more rapidly than Love waves, although similar low misfits can be achieved. When assumed interfaces are used, the inversion of fundamental-mode Love wave dispersion of the normally dispersive profile provides a more accurate result, because the Love wave dispersion is independent of the Poisson's ratio. In more realistic, irregularly dispersive profiles, deep structure is only interpreted using higher-mode Love and Rayleigh wave dispersion.
A field test over a shallow geologic fault with coincident Love and Rayleigh wavefields shows the fundamental–mode Love wave dispersion above 20 Hz to have at least 10% higher phase velocities than Rayleigh waves. However, at lower frequencies, Love wave dispersion is at least 10% slower. The resulting inverted models show up to 25% difference in shear-wave velocity. This is attributed to transverse isotropy of VSH and VSV in shallow fluvial sediments and allows improved geological horizon interpretation and soil discrimination over conventional, single-component surface wave inversion. A second test at a seismograph station site shows the Love wavefield less scattered and mode identification is simple, unlike Rayleigh waves over the same line, and the inversion results correlate well to downhole shear-wave velocity logs.