Standing Waves

Jeffrey Barker, Binghamton University, Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies

This site describes a demonstration of how the interference of seismic P (primary, compressional) and S (secondary, shear) waves cause standing waves such as surface waves in the Earth. The demonstration focuses on the P and S waves that are bouncing back and forth in the vertical direction in the Earth. Using a slinky, different frequencies are used to create different modes of standing waves. The length of the slinky is varied (analogous to the vertical distance of the interfering waves) and the relation to the frequency of the standing wave modes is found.

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Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Topics: Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics