Rocking From The Waves

Waves breaking against the shore cause seismic activity.

Not all seismic activity stems from earthquakes. In fact, much of Earth’s measured seismic waves come from interactions of the ocean and atmosphere with solid ground. Some of the strongest vibrations come from interactions of ocean waves, which transmit pressure waves that don’t attenuate with depth before passing into the solid Earth.

How those waves propagate and scatter inside the Earth has been a matter of contention for decades, but recent simulations are beginning to uncover the mechanisms that lead to the waves seismologists measure. (Image credit: I. Mingazova; via Physics Today)

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