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Geophysics PE-309 | Musaab Bin Usman


Name and describe three types of seismic waves described in this chapter.
Basically, three types of waves emanate from the surface and travel through the adjacent
layers. These can be classified into:
Seismic Body Waves
Seismic Surface Waves

Seismic Body Waves:

Seismic Body waves are those which move into the earths surface either radially from the
energy source or tangentially across the energy waves. The Body Waves are further classified
P-waves (push waves)
S-waves (shake waves)

Seismic Body waves moves through the rock by first compressing, and then stretching
the rock from place to place. The pulse of vibration moves through the rock, causing
particles farther and farther from the point of impact to vibrate momentarily.
The vibrating particles move back and forth in the same direction as the path of the pulse
through the rock.
A pulse causing this kind of vibration is called a compressional wave, longitudinal wave
or a P-wave. These waves can propagate through solids, liquids and gasses.

S-waves or the shock waves impart a tangential movement i.e. the particles will vibrate
in a perpendicular or transverse direction to the wave propagation. These are called the
S-wave or the Shock wave.

Seismic Surface Waves: Surface waves move along the ground at a slower velocity than
the body waves. These additional kinds of vibration can be measured only at locations
close to the surface. Surface waves are classified into:
Rayleigh Waves
Love Waves
Geophysics PE-309 | Musaab Bin Usman

Rayleigh Waves:
Rayleigh waves travel in a retrograde elliptical particle motion. The Rayleigh
wave vibration tends to persist much longer than the other waves. Rayleigh
wave vibrations change with time. The wave travels, the ground vibrates slowly
at first and then more rapidly. The wave frequency increases with time.
The Rayleigh waves travel at a speed that is slower than the direct S-wave.

Love Waves:
Love Wave travels at a slower speed than the direct S-wave. The direction of
vibration of Love wave cause horizontal ground movement perpendicular to the
path of the wave. Love Wave vibration persists much longer, following many
cycles of oscillation. These waves frequency increases with time.

Question no .2
Define the following terms:
a. Acoustic impedance
b. Snells law of refraction
c. Critical angle

Acoustic Impedance:
Acoustic impedance is defined as the product of density and velocity of the material (rock).
Acoustic impedance is the resistance or opposition offered by the rock to the propagation of
sound waves. Generally, Acoustic impedance increases with the density of the rocks, harder the
rocks, larger the acoustic impedances at their interface. It is designated by Z.
Z= V*
Snells Law of Refraction:
The law of refraction, which is generally known as Snell's law, governs the behavior of light-rays
as they propagate across a sharp interface between two mediums.
Snell's law states that the ratio of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction is equivalent to the
ratio of phase velocities in the two media, or equivalent to the reciprocal of the ratio of the indices of
Geophysics PE-309 | Musaab Bin Usman

In words, the formula above says that if a wave passes from material 1 to material 2, the ratio
of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction (1 and 2) will be a constant number and
this constant number is equal to the ratio of the transmitting velocities of the two materials (v1
and v2) as well as the inverse ratio of the indices of refraction of the two materials (n 1 and n2).

Critical Angle:
Critical angle is defined as that smallest angle of incidence at which the refracted ray will be bent
to just below and along the boundary, having an angle of refraction of 90degrees.
The sine of the critical angle is equal to the ratio of velocities across the boundary or interface.