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How Fast Does a Seismic Wave Travel?
Seismic waves travel through the earth during an earthquake. They occur when stress at a plate or other regions on the earth is released. Waves that travel through the crust are called surface waves. These cause most of the damage associated with earthquakes. Waves that travel through deeper layers are called body waves. These may be divided into primary and secondary waves. The strength of seismic waves is measured by an instrument called a seismometer. A network of seismometers is run the Northern California Earthquake Data Center, at the University of California, Berkeley. Evaluating the data from these earthquake substations allows students to track how an earthquake travels through the crust and measure how fast the seismic waves travel.
By studying actual earthquakes, students will becomes familiar with seismic waves, different types of waves and how fast they travel.
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