P-wave Velocity


P-waves are a type of elastic wave, called seismic waves in seismology, that can travel through a continuum. The continuum is made up of gases (as sound waves), liquids, or solids, including the Earth. P-waves can be produced by earthquakes and recorded by seismographs. The name P-wave is often said to stand either for primary wave, as it has the highest velocity and is therefore the first to be recorded; or pressure wave, as it is formed from alternating compressions and rarefactions. The velocity of P-waves in erthquake is related to the bulk modulus (the modulus of in-compressibility) and the shear modulus (modulus of rigidity.

Related formulas


vpP-wave velocity (m/s)
Kbulk modulus (pascal)
μshear modulus (pascal)
ρdensity of the material through which the wave propagates (kg/m3)