Earthquake Wave Analogies: UNLIKE ripples on/in water

How are earthquake waves UNLIKE a drop of water on a pond?

Part 2/2 Comparing seismic waves to ripples in water. This animation explores how seismic waves are UNLIKE ripples on water. Dr. Geophysics helps explain 4 significant differences.

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  • Potential energy builds quickly in water drop; builds over many years in Earth
  • Water drop is above the surface of Earth; earthquake is below the surface
  • Water waves travel in concentric spheres; changing geology causes changes in the speed of the seismic waves
  • Drop falls at 2 to 600 mph; seismic waves travel at 2,000 to 28,000 mph!

Total Time: 1min 48s
Level: Novice

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Exploration of how an earthquake is LIKE ripples on/in water. Dr. Geophysics guides you through the simple physics of potential energy and energy release. Analogies are a useful instructional strategy, especially in the science classroom. In this case, the analog is a drop of water hovering above and then falling into a pool of water, while the target is an earthquake.

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