Earthquakes seismic waves generate enough tremors to demolish a landscape in a matter of seconds. What makes these natural phenomena dangerous is how they precede without any symptoms or warnings, and how some human practices can induce quake-causing activities. Many of the world’s largest cities built along the fault lines are invisible to the naked eye. Yet one thing has beaten scientists over and over again: whether it is possible to predict the next big earthquake. Just 40,230 feet into the soil have humans been able to dig, and we know about the layers of the earth and how their mass divides them. By observing seismic waves, physicists have been able to learn about the earth’s interior. The detrimental effects and mitigation of seismic waves will be the subject of this article.


When the earth’s tectonic plates slip against each other, an earthquake takes place. Seismic waves of energy are emitted as earthquakes occur, which are the waves that are sent across the layers of the earth that cause it to shake and rumble. Primary waves (p-waves) and secondary waves are the two forms of seismic waves released (s-waves). Main waves (compression waves) pass quicker and are the first to appear, moving through everything as well. Secondary waves arrive second (shear waves) and can only pass across solids. To predict what is within the planet, and to see what areas of the earth the waves pass through, physicists use seismic waves.

            When an earthquake occurs, s-waves are released, but they don’t make it the whole way. There are “shadow zones” that show where the waves don’t move through. Shadow zones are zones inside the earth that the waves can’t move through. With s-waves, the shadow zones completely stop the waves because that’s where there are liquids. S-waves cannot travel through liquids. This is how scientists can tell where there is a liquid layer in the earth. S-waves shadow zone starts at 105 degrees and the waves do not reappear. Since these waves don’t travel through the entire earth, it creates a shadow zone. Since scientists know that s-waves cannot travel through liquid, the s-wave shadow zone tells us which layers of the earth contain liquids.

            Unlike S-waves, p-waves can travel through anything.  The shadow zones cause the p-waves to refract because of the material the waves are traveling through. They travel in groups when they hit new substances, p-waves starts away from the earthquake where it originally is from at 105 degrees and they reappear at 140 degrees. This tells us that Scientists use seismic waves to predict what the inside of the earth looks like and predicting what the substances are by which ways the waves move through. S-waves cannot move through liquids and stop when they hit them. P-waves refract and can travel through anything. This is how scientists can tell what substances are in the earth, and what the layers are made of. The purpose of this paper is to study the negative effects and prevention of seismic waves.

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