What are the features of p waves and s waves?

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P waves and S waves are both types of seismic waves. A P wave (primary wave) is a compressional wave that shakes the ground back and forth in the same direction and in the opposite direction. P waves have the highest velocity and so are the first waves from an...

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P waves and S waves are both types of seismic waves. A P wave (primary wave) is a compressional wave that shakes the ground back and forth in the same direction and in the opposite direction. P waves have the highest velocity and so are the first waves from an earthquake to arrive at a seismograph. S waves are secondary waves and are a type of elastic wave. An S wave shakes the ground back and forth perpendicular to the direction the wave is moving. S waves are more destructive than P waves because the lateral movement of the wave produces a rolling effect along the surface, causing damage to structures. The time difference between the P wave and S wave at the seismograph is used to determine how far away the epicenter is located. Using three seismograph locations, the epicenter can be accurately determined.

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