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No. 57: May-Jun 1988

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Outrageous Earthquake Waves

"Shock waves produced by earthquakes travel faster through the earth when going in a north-south direction than when they travel east-west.

"When these waves, called seismic waves travel east-west they take two seconds longer to reach a point on the other side than if they travel north-south. The measurements of velocity take the slightly wider girth of the Earth from east to west into account."

D. Anderson, director of Cal Tech's seismological laboratory states, "all of the possible explanations of this phe nomenon are outrageous."

The "least outrageous" explanation for the anomaly is that the earth's outer core is not a pure liquid, but more like a slurry of aligned solid particles.

(Anonymous; "Earthquake Waves Give 'Outrageous' Result," New Scientist, p. 38, February 18, 1988.)

From Science Frontiers #57, MAY-JUN 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss