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Q. 51

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Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach with Modern Physics
Found in: Page 453

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Short Answer

Earthquakes are essentially sound waves—called seismic

waves—traveling through the earth. Because the earth is solid, it can support both longitudinal and transverse seismic waves. The speed of longitudinal waves, called P waves, is 8000 m/s. Transverse waves, called S waves, travel at a slower 4500 m/s. A seismograph records the two waves from a distant earthquake. If the S wave arrives 2.0 min after the P wave, how far away was the earthquake? You can assume that the waves travel in straight lines, although actual seismic waves follow more complex routes.

The earthquake was a distance of

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Step by Step Solution

Step 1: Given data

The speed of longitudinal wave (P-wave) is,

The speed of transverse wave is (S-wave),

Consider the arrival time of longitudinal wave is, and the arrival time of transverse wave is,

Step 2: Determination of the time

According to the question,

We take, the earthquake is at a distance of

So consider the P-wave,

For the S-wave,

Assuming the waves travel at straight lines, then we can write from the above equations,

Step 3: Determination of the distance 

Substituting the value of in equation , we get,

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