Detailed forward modeling of long-period shear waves for two large underground explosions at the Southern Novaya Zemlya test site indicates that the appropriate equivalent double-couple orientation for the tectonic release radiation is vertical strike-slip. Previous studies of observed teleseismic SH waveforms and SV amplitudes for the 27 October 1973 and 2 November 1974 events using geometric ray theory could not distinguish between vertical strike-slip and 45°-dipping thrust geometries. Either mechanism can match the observed four-lobed SH radiation pattern, and the two-lobed SV amplitude pattern can be produced by interference with an appropriate size explosion pS signal. However, the complexity of the observed SV waveforms arising from Sp conversions near the receiver, diffracted Sp, and shear-coupled PL phases is not accounted for in the ray theory synthetics. Incorporating more realistic Green's functions using Baag and Langston's (1985b) WKBJ spectral method allows more complete modeling of the SV signals. Due to differences in frequency content between the explosion and double-couple SV waveforms, constructive interference occurs more efficiently than destructive interference when the two signals are linearly superimposed. As a result, using tectonic release moments determined from the SH waves and the optimum F factors required to match the SV amplitude patterns, the waveforms produced by the strike-slip and thrust orientations differ substantially at some azimuths. The strike-slip solution yields a consistently superior match to the data. Using the EU2 model of Lerner-Lam and Jordan (1987) for the source region and either EU2 or TNA (Grand and Helmberger, 1984) for the receiver structure, together with an attenuation model similar to SL8, we obtain a double-couple moment, M0 = 3.2 × 1024 dyne-cm and explosion source strength, ψ∞ = 3.8 ± 0.5 × 1011 cm3 for the 27 October 1973 event, and M0 = 1.7 × 1024 dyne-cm and ψ∞ = 2.0 ± 0.3 × 1011 cm3 for the 2 November 1974 event. Complete waveform modeling of SV signals can thus provide improved constraints on tectonic release radiation and explosion source strength.