What are the waves? And how are they formed?

What are waves?

  • Waves are forward movement of fluid due to oscillation of particles caused by a force.
  • Despite a large amount of energy it may carry forward, there is little actual forward motion of individual water particles in a wave,
  • Waves can occur on the free surface of all water bodies.
  • Caused by gravity,  wind, underwater volcanoes earthquake, landslides or explosions and by the movement of a ship or a fish.
  • Here confined to seawater oscillations caused by frictional drag caused by a wind force over the sea surface.
  • Wind waves vary from small ripples to huge rogue waves.
  • Waves can travel thousands of miles before reaching land.

how are they formed?

  • As wind blows over water it tries to drag water surface with it.
  • The surface cannot move as fast as air, so it rises.
  • When it rises, gravity pulls the water back’
  • Momentum of falling waters reaches below the surface.
  • Water pressure from below pushes falling water up again.
  • This tug of war between gravity and water pressure cause the up-down movement of fluid.
  • There is also a small component of to and fro motion of water in a wave.
  • The wave may travels forward for thousands of mile but but the water particles don’t.
  • Otherwise all the oceans would empty onto the shore!!!!!
  • A wave transfers energy from one water molecule to the next causing water particles to move in a circular pattern as shown by the bottle movement on a water surface.
  • This circular motion of water particle does not occur over the entire depth of water.
  • There are multiple circles of water particle movements where circles grow smaller with increasing depths as seen in the next diagram to the right.
  • At a depth about equal to half the wavelength, the motion stops.
    As they propagate across the open ocean, wind-generated waves maintain a constant speed, which is unaffected by depth until they reach shallow water
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