Earthquakes can be a terrifying experience to live through, but the science and nature behind an earthquake are quite fascinating.
Understanding how our earth works is a great way to become a more well-rounded and intellectual person.
If you live in an area where there are earthquakes, it certainly makes sense to understand how they work.
Sometimes understanding how an earthquake works can lead to better safety should one occur.
What Are the Two Primary Types of Waves Generated by Earthquakes?
The two primary types of waves generated by earthquakes are body waves and surface waves.
Although these are the two primary types, they are broken into other types of waves as well.
The body waves will come in two stages, the P Waves and the S Waves.
The surface waves will also come in two stages, the Love Waves and the Rayleigh Wave.
All of these waves can cause some damage, although some will have more of an impact than others.
What Are Body Waves?
Body waves are the waves that occur within the center of the earth.
The body waves tend to happen at very high frequencies, higher than the surface waves.
An earthquake can happen at all different levels within the earth.
In fact, the deeper the earthquake is, the less damage it will have on the people living on the earth’s surface.
As we mentioned, the body waves are divided into two categories: the P Waves and the S Waves.
P Waves are short for Primary Waves.
The P waves are very fast, and they are the leaders of the earthquake.
Many people don’t realize that an earthquake occurs in stages and that it will start occurring before people even know it has started.
The P Waves are capable of moving through rock and fluids as well.
As you probably know, there are layers of the earth that are made up of liquid, and the P waves can travel through it.
An interesting fact about P Waves is that some animals, like dogs, can actually hear P Waves before humans even know an earthquake is about to occur.
The secondary type of body wave is an S Wave.
S Waves are called Secondary Waves, and you may feel this wave a little more strongly than the P Wave.
The S Waves tend to travel quite a bit slower, and they cannot go through liquid.
The S Waves will travel through rock, and since it is moving a little slower, it starts to feel more like a rumble when the S waves are in full swing.
What Are Surface Waves?
Surface waves are the other primary type of wave in an earthquake.
The surface waves are broken down into the Love and the Rayleigh waves, both named after scientists.
Both the Rayleigh and the Love waves are going to happen on the crust of the earth.
Neither of these waves will travel within the earth’s core.
With Love waves, you are going to see horizontal motion only.
They will travel along the earth’s core at a much faster pace than the Rayleigh waves.
The Rayleigh waves have a different motion than those of the Love waves.
These waves travel in a rolling motion similar to how waves travel on the ocean.
When there is destruction and devastation after an earthquake, you can almost guarantee it was mostly caused by the Rayleigh waves.
These are the waves that will tear parking lots up and leave buildings in a pile.
Since these are surface waves that happen as a result of the body waves, the Rayleigh waves will vary depending on the size and the depth of the earthquake.
What Does the Most Damage in an Earthquake?
Now that you understand the different types of waves involved in an earthquake, it is important to know what causes the majority of the damage.
There is no question the surface waves are going to cause more damage than the body waves.
The body waves are usually well below the surface, and hopefully, they are very deep in the center of the earth.
When body waves are deeper, the resulting surface waves are not usually as strong and, therefore, cause less damage.
Is There Any Way to Prepare for an Earthquake?
Unfortunately, unlike some other natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes do not give you much time to prepare.
This can make it a challenge to be prepared and ready for an earthquake.
There is never going to be time or enough warning to escape and get somewhere safe, so the best thing to do is to prepare the area where you are.
If you are a homeowner, you can take some critical steps to make sure your home is ready.
Although scientists know quite a bit about earthquakes and can measure and study these waves, they still don’t have a way to warn the public about what is to come.
The best thing you can do in your home is to make sure you have things secured.
Don’t leave chemicals or flammable materials around; lock them up in cabinets, and secure the cabinets.
You should also store glass things in the lower cabinets so that there is no glass flying around at people’s heads during an actual earthquake.
Determining if you have a safe place nearby is also quite smart.
Once the earthquake is finished, you will probably need a kit with flashlights and batteries, medical supplies, water, and more.
When living in states that are prone to hurricanes, you must make sure you have these things in place and ready to go.
Chances are you will probably not need them, but it’s worth being prepared for.
There are lots of safety tips you should follow during an earthquake, but you should, at the very least, know how to turn off your gas, electricity, and your water.
These three things could help you save quite a bit of damage if you know how to control them properly.
Can You Get a Warning for an Earthquake?
As technology has improved, we have learned more and more about earthquakes and how they work.
Some apps on the market will warn people when there is significant shaking about to start.
The warning may only be a few seconds at times, but for the people who live in the high-risk states, they are taking all they can get.
At least you will have the opportunity to be prepared before the shaking gets worse, and you may be able to get into a position that protects you from a fall or from hurting your head.
These systems may get more advanced in the future, and there could be a larger warning period, but being prepared is still the best way to handle an earthquake.
Hopefully, our information on the two primary types of waves generated by earthquakes has helped you understand a bit more about how our world works.
The waves that are created by an earthquake are incredibly powerful, and they all have different patterns and characteristics.
The more you know about these natural disasters, the better job you can do to protect yourself and your family.