What Is The Speed Of Seismic Waves? 

Before knowing the speed of seismic waves, you should know about the Seismic waves themselves. So, seismic waves are produced by the sudden movement of materials within the Earth, such as slipping sling faults during an earthquake. Natural calamities like landslides, avalanches, Volcanic eruptions, explosions, and even rushing rivers can also lead to seismic waves. Below, we will give you all aspects of seismic waves in detail, including the calculation of the seismic wave’s speed. Without wasting your time let’s go to know the speed of seismic waves.  

What Is The Speed Of Seismic Waves? 

The speed of seismic waves is 330 m/s in air, 1450 m/s in water, and about 5000 m/s in granite. What would you understand from the above given the three speeds of seismic waves? The speed of the seismic waves is low in the liquid or air medium and it is more in the solid mediums. Why? It is because the seismic waves travel depends on the properties of the material that they are passing through. The denser a material is, the faster the seismic wave travels. Now, you know what affects the speed of seismic waves?  

Let’s know some other speeds of seismic waves. The speed of seismic waves on earth is 330 m/s and the relative speed of seismic waves is 6 km/sec. The speed of waves tends to increase with depth through Earth’s ad mantle but drops sharply going from the mantle to the outer core. 

Now, my question is for you, what does the speed of seismic waves depend on? Can you tell? So, the propagation of seismic waves depends on the density and elasticity of the medium as well as the type of wave, as we already mentioned.  

Now, you have the information about the seed of seismic waves depends on which factors. Let’s have a look at the calculation of the seismic wave’s speed.        

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Calculate The Speed Of Seismic Waves 

To calculate the speed of seismic waves you need to know one formula which is given as, 

 c = F/ρ 


            F = is the string tension force 

            ρ = is the density of the respective material, and 

            C = is the speed of seismic waves 

If you have the values of the density of the medium and also the string tension force, then you can easily measure speed of seismic waves.  

The density of any medium is the ratio of the mass per unit volume. 

                   ρ = Mass/Volume 

And, the string tension force is the pulling force transmitted axially by the means of a string, cable, chain, or similar object. 

About Seismic Waves 

When a natural calamity, especially an earthquake occurs, it makes seismic waves, and these seismic waves cause the shaking we feel. Seismic waves are essentially just the shaking of the ground due to the force applied to the ground by the earthquake. 

There are 4 types of seismic waves and they are P-Wave Motion, S-Wave Motion, Rayleigh-wave motion, and Love-wave Motion.

They are acoustic energy waves that propagate through the earth. Seismic waves are the result of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, magma movement, large landslides, and large man-made explosions that give out low-frequency acoustic energy. 

Earthquakes create different types of waves with different speeds, when reaching seismic observatories, their different travel times help scientists to locate the source of the hypocenter. 

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What Affects The Speed Of A Seismic Wave?

Temperature tends to lower the speed of seismic waves and pressure tends to increase the speed. Pressure increases with depth in Earth because the weight of the rocks above gets larger with increasing depth.

Can Seismic Waves Travel At Different Speeds?

Seismic waves travel at different speeds through different materials. In this 2-layer model two wave fronts leave an impact at the same time but the lower layer is faster. Seismic waves travel a curving path through the earth due to changes in composition, pressure, and temperature within the layers of the Earth.

What Causes Seismic Waves To Speed Up?

Seismic waves travel more quickly through denser materials and therefore generally travel more quickly with depth. Anomalously hot areas slow down seismic waves. Seismic waves move more slowly through a liquid than a solid.

Which Seismic Wave Causes The Most Damage?

S waves arrive next and cause a structure to vibrate from side to side. They are the most damaging waves, because buildings are more easily damaged from horizontal motion than from vertical motion.

Which Seismic Waves Are Fastest In Speed?

P waves travel fastest and are the first to arrive from the earthquake. In S or shear waves, rock oscillates perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation. In rock, S waves generally travel about 60% the speed of P waves, and the S wave always arrives after the P wave.


In this article, you have learned about the different speed of seismic waves also the types of seismic waves in detail. There are four types of seismic waves including P, S, Rayleigh, and surface waves. P and S waves together are sometimes called body waves because they can travel through the body of the earth, and are not trapped on the surface. Body waves travel through the surface of the earth. The particle motion of surface waves is larger than the body waves, so surface waves tend to cause more damage. So, this was all about the speed of seismic waves