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S U M M A R Y Finite elements can, in some cases, outperform finite-difference methods for modelling wave propagation in complex geological models with topography. In the weak form of the finiteelement method, the delta function is a natural way to represent a point source. If, instead of the usual second-order form, the first-order form of the wave equation is considered, this is no longer true. Fourier analysis for a simple case shows that the spatial operator corresponding to the first-orderdoi:10.1093/gji/ggy337 fatcat:2sxw2efuzjgjbg6meemak3plqi