Zoeppritz equations

The Zoeppritz equations are a set of equations in seismic wave theory that describe the reflection and transmission of seismic waves at an interface between two rock layers with different physical properties. The equations were developed by German geophysicist Karl Zoeppritz in the early 20th century and are widely used in seismic data processing and interpretation.

The Zoeppritz equations relate the amplitude and phase of the reflected and transmitted seismic waves to the incident angle, the properties of the two rock layers, and the frequency of the seismic wave. Specifically, the equations can be used to calculate the reflection and transmission coefficients, which describe the ratio of the reflected and transmitted wave amplitudes to the incident wave amplitude, respectively.

The Zoeppritz equations are commonly used to analyze seismic data and to estimate the properties of subsurface rock formations, such as the thickness, depth, and composition of geological layers. They are also used in seismic inversion techniques to estimate the properties of rock formations from seismic data.

It’s worth noting that the Zoeppritz equations are based on a number of simplifying assumptions about the properties of the rock layers and the behavior of seismic waves, and they may not accurately describe all types of seismic wave propagation. Nonetheless, they remain an important tool for seismic data analysis and interpretation.


Zoeppritz, K. (1919). “Erdbebenwellen VII. VII. Über Reflexion und Durchgang seismischer Wellen durch Unstetigkeitsflächen.” Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Mathematisch-Physikalische Klasse, 1919(1): 66-84.