What Is the Distance Between Wave Crests?

distance-between-wave-crests Credit: Anita Ritenour/CC-BY-2.0

The distance between wave crests is called wavelength. It is a characteristic shared by waves of all kinds, including ocean waves and sound waves. Wavelength is measured from the highest point, or summit, of one wave's crest to the summit of the next wave's crest.

Wavelength measures the distance between two consecutive waves. It calculates distance based on corresponding points (such as summits) in the same phase. Wavelength is measured from crest to crest or trough to trough in transverse waves, which are characterized by points oscillating at right angles toward the direction of their advance. In physics and geography, wavelength is denoted by the Greek lambda.