Seismic Waves

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

When an earthquake strikes, different kinds of waves race through the Earth. Which are the most destructive? How are they detected and measured? You'll find out in this Planet Diary activity.

  1. Read this description of Seismic Waves. What are seismic waves?
  2. What's the difference between body waves and surface waves? Which are more damaging?
  3. Watch the Seismic Wave animation (below the descriptions of primary and secondary waves). Describe the difference in movements of S and P waves through the ground.
  4. What's the difference between an earthquake's focus and epicenter?
  5. Why are surface waves so destructive?
  6. Go to the USGS Science of Earthquakes. Scroll to How Are Earthquakes Recorded? How do scientists measure the size of an earthquake?
  7. How do scientists determine an earthquake's location?
  8. Describe how triangulation works.