The problem of the diffraction of a seismic pulse by the core of the Earth is investigated theoretically. The result is compared to that of diffraction by a half-plane. The differences are striking. Laboratory model experiments have been performed to verify the theoretical approximations in their regions of validity, and to complement the theory elsewhere. The curves, thus obtained, of the theoretical amplitude distribution in the shadow of the Earth's core agree very well with the observations of Gutenberg. It is therefore concluded that diffraction is a completely adequate explanation for the amplitude distribution in the shadow zone.

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