Direct Wave

Published: September 3, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Direct Wave Mean?

Direct wave is one of the seismic trace components generated during a seismic refraction test. Direct wave travels directly from the acoustic source to the geophone receivers without undergoing seismic reflection or refraction from a sub-surface layer.

The seismic trace components include direct wave, reflected wave and critically refracted wave.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Direct Wave

Low-frequency seismic energy is produced by a seismic source on the surface such as a hammer plate, buffalo gun, explosion or weight drop, depending on the depth of penetration required. Geophones arranged at regular intervals of 1-10 meters detect these refracted seismic waves. The output data from the geophones is compiled and processed by a seismograph.

The first seismic wave to arrive at the geophone position is the direct waves. The travel time for a direct wave can be computed using the simple formula

t = x / V, where

t – time

x – distance from source

V – velocity


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