Certain exact solutions to Lamb's problem (the transient response of an elastic half-space to a force applied at a point) involve the computation merely of three square roots, and about ten arithmetic operations (+, −, ×, /). They arise when both source and receiver lie on the free surface. It is just these solutions which are needed in a method due to Hamano for obtaining the slip function (displacement discontinuity), as a function of space and time, for planar tension cracks and shear cracks which grow spontaneously with arbitrary shape. The solutions are described here in detail, for an elastic medium with general Poisson's ratio. They include perhaps the simplest-possible example of the P-wave.

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