Outcome: Types of Waves

Compare and contrast properties and mechanics of different types of waves

When an earthquake occurs, some of the energy it releases is turned into heat within the earth. Some of the energy is expended in breaking and permanently deforming the rocks and minerals along the fault. The rest of the energy, which is most of the energy, is radiated from the focus of the earthquake in the form of seismic waves.

Seismic waves fall into two general categories: body waves (P-waves and S-waves), which travel through the interior of the earth, and surface waves, which travel only at the earth’s surface.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify P-wave characteristics and behavior
  • Identify S-wave characteristics and behavior
  • Identify surface wave characteristics and behavior

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Reading: Body Waves
  • Reading: Surface Waves
  • Self Check: Types of Waves


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