The three types of seismic waves are primary waves, secondary waves and surface waves. Seismic waves can cause earthquakes and have destructive capability. Primary and secondary waves are known as body waves, and these waves penetrate the interior of the Earth, whereas surface waves do not penetrate the Earth.
Primary waves are also known as pressure waves and travel at the highest velocity inside the Earth. Secondary waves are known as shaking waves; these waves are faster than surface waves, but slower than primary waves.
Surface waves are similar to water waves. These waves travel more slowly than secondary waves, but they have a larger amplitude. The higher amplitude of surface waves increase their destructive capability.