Indirect interband optical absorption in GaP has been measured and analyzed. Deviations from a simple indirect absorption law are shown to be consistent with those given by a model which takes into account both the variation of the energy denominators with photon energy and indirect absorption to higher-energy conduction-band valleys. The analysis of the GaP data indicates that such an analysis on data of limited absorption-constant range can provide reasonably accurate values of the direct band gap. The value of the direct band gap best fitting this model for AlAs at 6°K is 3.13 eV. In GaP and AlAs there is evidence of a higher set of extrema giving rise to an additional indirect absorption component 0.34 and 0.20 eV, respectively, above that due to the lowest-energy conduction-band minima. The strength of the absorption due to these higher-energy valleys indicates that they contain states of X3 symmetry. © 1972 The American Physical Society.