Summary. Examples are presented of earthquake P-wave pulses seen on broadband seismograms, to show that on such recordings the pulse shapes are more clearly seen than on conventional short-period and long-period seismograms. Most of the broadband seismograms have been chosen because they show marked differences between the pulse lengths of P and those of the surface reflections. In addition some of the pulses appear to have smooth onsets and abrupt trailing edges so that the onset of the pulse is difficult to observe and the largest amplitude arrivals seen on the seismogram coincide not with the onset of motion but with the termination of motion: that is the large arrivals mark stopping phases of motion.
We assume that the differences in pulse length are due to the effects of a moving source – that is a Doppler effect – and that the pulses with smooth onsets and abrupt trailing edges can be modelled simply by a source propagating on a line with low radiation amplitude at the start of motion. A trial and error method guided by a published fault plane solution is then used to obtain a fit between observed and computed seismograms for one of the earthquakes. This process leads to an estimate of the crack speed of about 1.4 times the 5-wave speed.
The errors that may arise in estimating source depths and orientation, if stopping phases are not recognized as such, is discussed.