Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1258-1269


Seismic, Receiver Function Technique

  • Rainer KindAffiliated withHelmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 2.4, Seismology Email author 
  • , Xiaohui YuanAffiliated withSection Seismology, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences


Receiver functions; Scattered teleseismic waves


Receiver function. Response of the Earth’s structure below seismic stations to incident teleseismic waves. Seismic discontinuities in the Earth’s crust or upper mantle cause waves from distant earthquakes to be converted from P to S waves or vice versa, or to be multiply reflected between discontinuities before arriving the stations. Such scattered waves carry information about the seismic structure of the lithosphere and upper mantle. Scattered waves are weak signals and summation of many records is usually required to visualize the useful information.

Receiver function technique

If a seismic wave hits a discontinuity between two solid materials with different physical parameters, a part of the wave will be reflected and another part will be transmitted. There is also mode conversion between compressional (P) waves and shear (S) waves (see

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