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Body Waves

Body wave are waves that travel from the interior of the Earth toward the surface, they are compose by two kind of waves P waves and and S waves

P Waves

“P” Waves, also called Primary Waves have elastic traveling characteristics as sound waves, they can travel in gas, liquid or solids like on earth, These waves are the first to be detected by seismographs and alarms. These are compression waves classified as body waves, these waves travel from the inner Earth to the surface.














S Waves

“S” Wave also called Secondary Waves travel with amplitude perpendicular to their propagation direction, as showed in the picture, these are classified as body  waves, they also travel from the earthquake epicenter toward the surface, these  waves are more destructive than the primary waves but fortunately travel at lower speed.













Surface Waves

Surface wave are waves that travel near or at the surface of the earth on a horizontal path, waves in this category are Love and Raleigh waves.  


Love Waves

Love waves are surface waves with a transversal and longitudinal component that travel horizontally to the Earth surface,  are produced by the circular motion of particles on a clockwise direction. The particles do not travel, they do communicate the energy in circular motion generating the waves as seen on water and liquids.














Raleigh Waves

Raleigh waves are also surface waves in solids with transversal and longitudinal components in which the wave is produced by an counter-clockwise elliptic movement of the particles, as opposite to the circular clockwise motion in the love waves, these waves are highly destructive.  













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Basic Earthquake Glossary, Part 2





Earth Surface Shaking in Both Directions



Impact Force

Earth Surface

Wave Traveling


The effect of the P waves on the earth surface is an up and down movement

Compression wave, time 1

Traveling compression

wave at time 2

Wave Propagation


Time 1

Time 2

Time 3

     Love Waves Train

Raleigh Waves Train