During an earthquake, surface waves are the seismic waves that cause the most damage. Unlike other seismic waves that move deep inside the Earth, surface waves move along just under the surface of the Earth like waves in... More »

The S wave is the most destructive wave that causes earthquakes. S waves are more dangerous because they are larger than other wave types and produce both horizontal and vertical motion on and under the ground. More »

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Seismic waves occur from actions within the Earth's core, including breaking and splitting rocks, explosions and volcanic eruptions. Seismic waves occur on land and in the ocean; they exist in two primary forms — surface... More »

Tsunamis are massive waves that form when an ocean is disturbed by an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption or other disruptive event. Underwater earthquakes, which occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates, are one ... More »

The waves of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, caused by the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, originated in the open ocean located to the west of Sumatra in Indonesia, where the event claimed 130,736 lives. Other hard-hit cou... More »

When a tsunami occurs, it's typically in response to an earthquake, and oceanic waves grow to large proportions, increasing their rate of causing damage. Other natural earth forces can cause tsunamis as well, including m... More »

Surface waves cause the most damage to things like highways, bridges and buildings. Surface waves are one of four types of seismic waves generated during an earthquake. More »