Table 1:  Seismic Waves – Love wave              Back

L, Love, Surface waves, Long waves

Particle Motion

Typical Velocity

Other Characteristics

Transverse horizontal motion, perpendicular to the direction of propagation and generally parallel to the Earth’s surface.

VL ~ 2.0 - 4.4 km/s in the Earth depending on frequency of the propagating wave, and therefore the depth of penetration of the waves.  In general, the Love waves travel slightly faster than the Rayleigh waves.

Love waves exist because of the Earth’s surface.  They are largest at the surface and decrease in amplitude with depth.  Love waves are dispersive, that is, the wave velocity is dependent on frequency, generally with low frequencies propagating at higher velocity.  Depth of penetration of the Love waves is also dependent on frequency, with lower frequencies penetrating to greater depth.