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Rayleigh wave

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noun Mechanics, Geology.
  1. a wave along the surface of a solid, elastic body, especially along the surface of the earth.
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Origin of Rayleigh wave

First recorded in 1915–20; named after J. W. S. Rayleigh
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

rayleigh wave in Science

Rayleigh wave

  1. A type of seismic surface wave that moves with a rolling motion that consists of a combination of particle motion perpendicular and parallel to the main direction of wave propagation. The amplitude of this motion decreases with depth. Like primary waves, Rayleigh waves are alternatingly compressional and extensional (they cause changes in the volume of the rocks they pass through). Rayleigh waves travel slower than Love waves.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.