TEACHING MOMENT: Using Seismology to Understand Wave Attenuation

TEACHING MOMENT: Seismology is one of the best tools to teach about wave theory, specifically wave attenuation.  Basic wave characteristics are shown below:

  1. A wave’s amplitude is how high the wave’s peak measures.
  2. A wave’s wave length is how long the wave measures from peak-to-peak.

Attenuation is to weaken the energy, force, magnitude, length or amplitude of an object.  After an earthquake occurs, the seismic waves travel throughout the Earth in many directions.  The closer earthquake instruments (seismographs) are to the earthquake’s location, the stronger the waves will appear.  A similar scenario is also true:  if several earthquakes occur and are recorded by the same seismograph, the earthquake closest and/or greater amplitude will appear the largest on the computer.


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