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A proposed method of determining average underground formation characteristics by means of short‐time tracer injection has been investigated both theoretically and experimentally. Streamline travel times for the passage of either an ideal gas or an incompressible fluid through a homogeneous permeable formation, from an injection well to a production well, have been calculated using an electronic digital computer. With only minor modifications, the methods of solution employed could be used in the investigation of more complex well systems. For a fixed ratio of injection well pressure to production well pressure the streamline travel times, expressed in terms of a dimensionless time parameter θ, are approximately independent of the well spacing to well radius ratio. A procedure has been devised for predicting the produced tracer concentration as a function of time using the calculated streamline travel times. Preliminary field tests indicate that the short‐time tracer injection method is of practical value, but that additional study is necessary before the method can be used most advantageously.