How might they be used to determine the epicenter of earthquakes?
P waves can travel through any material, and S waves don’t travel through gas or liquid. If an earthquake occurs on one side of the earth, seismic stations won’t pick up S waves if they had to travel through the liquid part of the core. We don’t know for sure that there is a liquid part of the core, but the fact that S waves don’t travel through it supports the hypothesis of it being liquid.
Also, seismic stations will chart an earthquake at different times depending on their location. If an earthquake occured one mile away from a seismic station, you wouldn’t be able to tell what direction it was in unless you had other seismic stations submit their data. To find the epicenter, a circle with a one mile radius would have to be drawn around the seismic station. Two other seismic stations would also pick up the data, and you would draw similar circles around them with a radius equal to how far away the station was from the earthquake. The epicenter is where the three circles intersect.
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