Theoretical Study of the Localization of Rayleigh Waves

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Rayleigh surface waves

The particles in a solid, through which a Rayleigh surface wave passes, move in elliptical paths, with the major axis of the ellipse perpendicular to the surface of the solid. As the depth into the solid increases the "width" of the elliptical path decreases. Rayleigh waves are different from water waves in one important way. In a water wave all particles travel in clockwise circles. However, in a Rayleigh surface wave, particles at the surface trace out a counter-clockwise ellipse, while particles at a depth of more than 1/5th of a wavelength trace out clockwise ellispes. The movie below shows a Rayleigh wave travelling from left to right along the surface of a solid. Particles in the medium are identified as yellow circles to illustrate the counterclockwise-clockwise motion as a function of depth.

We have recently published a paper on the localization of Rayleigh waves in Physical Review B. You can download a postcript version of the paper here PRB paper, November 15, 2000
or a pdf version

Animation of Rayleigh wave motion at a solid/vacuum interface. Rayleigh waves are also referred to as "Ground Roll", a feature evident in the animation.

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