1. n. [Geophysics]
A one-dimensional pulse, usually the basic response from a single reflector. Its key attributes are its amplitude, frequency and phase. The wavelet originates as a packet of energy from the source point, having a specific origin in time, and is returned to the receivers as a series of events distributed in time and energy. The distribution is a function of velocity and density changes in the subsurface and the relative position of the source and receiver. The energy that returns cannot exceed what was input, so the energy in any received wavelet decays with time as more partitioning takes place at interfaces. Wavelets also decay due to the loss of energy as heat during propagation. This is more extensive at high frequency, so wavelets tend to contain less high-frequency energy relative to low frequencies at longer traveltimes. Some wavelets are known by their shape and spectral content, such as the Ricker wavelet.