The Burridge and Knopoff (1964) paper played a critical role in the development of the theory of the earthquake source, and its importance is best appreciated when it is considered within that context. For this reason, a brief historical overview will be presented. A more detailed presentation and a number of basic results needed to understand the paper can be found in the accompanying tutorial (Pujol, 2003; see this issue, pp. 163-153).

Although solving the elastic wave equation for an arbitrary body force is a difficult problem, solutions for single and double couples had been known since the early...

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