Editor's note: This paper was an invited presentation at the workshop “Near-surface problems and solutions” at SEG's 2002 Annual Meeting.

Rayleigh waves, surface waves that travel along a “free” surface such as the earth-air or the earth-water interface, are usually characterized by relatively low velocity, low frequency, and high amplitude. Rayleigh waves are the result of interfering P and SV waves. Particle motion of the fundamental mode of Rayleigh waves in a homogeneous medium moving from left to right is elliptical in a counter-clockwise (retrograde) direction along the free surface. As depth increases, the particle motion becomes prograded and is...

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