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secondary wave

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A type of seismic body wave in which rock particles vibrate at right angles to the direction of wave travel. Secondary waves cause the rocks they pass through to change in shape. These waves are the second fastest traveling seismic waves (after primary waves) and can travel through solids but not through liquids or gases. Also called shear wave S wave See Note at earthquake.

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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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