Seismic Waves

Seismic Waves are created when energy builds up in rocks and causes them to fracture. They are also known as Earthquake waves. There are three different types of seismic waves: – P-waves, S-waves and Surface waves.

P-waves or Primary waves are the fastest of all the three and cause just a slight vibration. S-waves or Secondary waves are the second fastest and cause more damage as compared to P-waves. Surface waves are the slowest while travelling and cause the highest damage while compare to other types of waves.


Fast Facts: –

  • These waves can also help to determine the depths of layers of molten and semi-molten rock and other things within the earth.
  • When there is an earthquake about to occur, Primary Waves are the first one to arrive.
  • P-waves can move through both solid rocks and fluids and S-waves can only move through solid rock.
  • Primary Waves and Secondary waves are collectively known as the body waves.
  • One kind of Surface waves are known as Rayleigh Waves and another kind of surface waves are known as Love Waves.
  • Rayleigh Waves travel as ripples and Love Waves cause horizontal shearing of the ground.
  • Seismic Waves radiate from the focus of an earthquake and they temporarily turn soft deposits of the earth in jelly.
  • These waves are calculated by geophysicists that are known as seismologist using instruments including seismometer, accelerometer and hydrophone.