Properties of Seismic P Waves, S Waves and Surface Waves
Properties of Seismic P Waves:
- P waves are also known as primary waves, the first to be detected after an earthquake.
- These waves travel through solid, liquid, and gas.
- P waves are longitudinal waves, similar to sound waves. They compress and decompress the material they travel through.
- Their speed is approximately 6 km/sec in the crust of the Earth.
- P waves produce vertical motion, shaking ground up and down.
Properties of Seismic S Waves:
- S waves, also known as secondary waves, are the second seismic waves to be detected after an earthquake.
- These waves can only travel through solid materials and are stopped by liquid or gas.
- S waves are transverse waves, shaking the ground from side to side and up and down.
- They have a slower speed compared to P waves, approximately 3.5 km/sec in the crust of the Earth.
- S waves cause the most damage during an earthquake because of their larger amplitudes and side-to-side motion.
Properties of Surface Waves:
- Surface waves are seismic waves that travel across the Earth’s surface.
- They arrive after P waves and S waves and are usually the cause of most of the shaking felt.
- There are two types of surface waves: Love waves, which shake the ground from side to side, and Rayleigh waves, which move the ground up and down and side to side.
- Surface waves cause the most destruction during an earthquake due to their higher amplitude and horizontal motion.
- They travel more slowly than P or S waves, but over longer distances, their amplitude do not decrease as quickly, causing prolonged shaking.
Remember, explaining and understanding differences and similarities between these wave types is crucial for scoring high. So, combine these points with your knowledge about waves in general and practise applying it to different scenarios.