Seismic Waves

Jeffrey Barker, Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Binghamton University

This demonstration elucidates the concept of propagation of compressional waves (primary or P waves) and shear waves (secondary or S waves), which constitute the seismic waves used in locating and modeling earthquakes and underground nuclear explosions, and for imaging the interior structure of the Earth. The demonstration uses a slinky, pushed along its axis to create a compressional (longitudinal) wave, and moved up and down on one end to create a shear (transverse) wave.

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Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Seismology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity:Short Activity:Demonstration
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Topics: Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geophysics