Volume 7 Number 2
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478



The elastic impulse‐from an explosion is propagated through the earth as an expanding shell bounded by the wavefront. This wavefront and its motion are a physical reality while rays or trajectories are much less sharply defined and cannot actually be observed because the wavelengths involved in seismic processes are too long. This means that the visualization and the interpretation of seismic processes can be carried out in a more satisfactory, simple and comprehensible way with wavefronts than with rays.

H. R. Thornburgh (1930) introduced the very lucid and simple method of interpreting seismic refraction sections, using Huygen's principle to construct wavefronts from two symmetrical shotpoints by working back from their observed arrival times at the surface. The depths are found first with only a knowledge of the velocities down to the refractor and after that the velocities in the refractor can be determined.

The pattern of the two wavefronts at equal time intervals, obtained when carrying out Thornburgh's construction, leads to the very simple, approximative “Plus‐Minus” method. The additions of the travel times from two symmetrical shotpoints to‐each geophone give the relative depths and their subtractions give the velocities of the refractor. The method extrapolates exact quantities from the refractor boundary up to the surface by the “Plus”‐ and “Minus” lines. This extrapolation introduces errors that can, more or less, be corrected for. A number of hypothetical cases are presented to give an insight into the applicability and reliability of the “Plus‐Minus” method. Its main applications are for fairly shallow refraction investigations and for determining weathering corrections for refraction and reflection work.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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