Definitions for s-wave
A transverse, shear wave, such as that produced by an earthquake. Movement is transverse to the direction of propagation and is a body wave
Origin: From "secondary wave" or "shear wave"
A type of elastic wave, the S-wave, secondary wave, or shear wave is one of the two main types of elastic body waves, so named because they move through the body of an object, unlike surface waves. The S-wave moves as a shear or transverse wave, so motion is perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation: S-waves are like waves in a rope, as opposed to waves moving through a slinky, the P-wave. The wave moves through elastic media, and the main restoring force comes from shear effects. These waves do not diverge, and they obey the continuity equation for incompressible media: Its name, S for secondary, comes from the fact that it is the second direct arrival on an earthquake seismogram, after the compressional primary wave, or P-wave, because S-waves travel slower in rock. Unlike the P-wave, the S-wave cannot travel through the molten outer core of the Earth, and this causes a shadow zone for S-waves opposite to where they originate. They can still appear in the solid inner core: when a P-wave strikes the boundary of molten and solid cores, called the Lehmann discontinuity, S-waves will then propagate in the solid medium. And when the S-waves hit the boundary again they will in turn create P-waves. This property allows seismologists to determine the nature of the inner core.
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