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Seismic Waves
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.
Intended for grade levels:
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Presentation / Demo
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geophysics
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright and Other Restrictions Information is Unknown
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-227
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • B - Physical science:
        • Transfer of energy
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • B - Physical science:
        • Interactions of energy and matter
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Jeffrey S. Barker
Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Binghamton University