• JWKB theory;
  • lateral heterogeneity;
  • surface waves;
  • variational principles


We present a JWKB theory for the propagation of monochromatic Love and Rayleigh waves on a smooth, laterally heterogeneous Earth model. The analysis is based upon a slowly varying Lagrangian which yields local Love and Rayleigh eigenfunctions, local dispersion relations, and transport equations which determine the variation in surface wave amplitude along a ray. The amplitude of a monochromatic Love or Rayleigh wave varies only as a result of geometrical spreading; the amplitude diverges and the phase is shifted by /2 each time the wave passes through a caustic singularity, where the width of the ray tube vanishes. We obtain the JWKB surface wave Green's tensor and derive an explicit expression for the JWKB response to a moment tensor source. The theory allows for slowly varying topography of the Earth's surface and any internal discontinuities, and incorporates the effect of self-gravitation and slight anelasticity on surface wave propagation.