Wave Refraction

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Introductory Geology, Oswego State : One Thread

I really do not understand how wave refraction works. I am reading it but don't understand. Can some one give me a logical and good explaination?

-- Anthea Jeffrey (jeffrey@oswego.edu), October 29, 2002


I would just add a little to what Xiulan wrote. Refraction means "bending" or changing direction. The wave crests are refracted (that is, they bend) when they approach the shore at an angle because part of each wave crest (the part closer to shore) enters shallow water, and slows down, before the rest of the wave crest (which is in deeper water). So the entire wave crest is progressively bend (or refracted) as parts of the wave in progressively shallower water (closer to shore) slow down, but the wave crest in progressively deeper water (away from shore) moves progressively faster.

-- Sharon Gabel (gabel@oswego.edu), November 03, 2002.

You can try to do a experiment. Using your right hand put down in the table to imagine the longshore, and using your left hand imagines the wave. After wave travel to the longshort, the palm of the right hand will apporach shore first. This time wave crests apporach shore at an angle.The water would be slow down because it apporachs the shore. However, the water crest would bend to the short. This happening calls wave refraction. I don't know I help you. If you still don't understand, you can ask me in class.

-- XiuLan Liu (Liu@oswego.edu), October 29, 2002.

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