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I have seen in many books ocean waves being taken as an example of simple harmonic waves, but how can the waves produced in ocean be taken as such since the water actually moves to the shore and goes back, while a wave is just a disturbance produced in a medium without any actual movement of the particles of the medium?

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  • $\begingroup$ Then what are seismic waves, if they're not allowed to disturb the medium? $\endgroup$ – JEB Sep 1 '18 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ What is a "simple harmonic wave"? $\endgroup$ – hyportnex Sep 1 '18 at 12:29
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A deep-water wave travels faster in deep water than in shallow water. As the wave moves into progressively shallower water near the shore, it slows down. When the wave's height becomes a significant fraction of the water depth below it, the tallest part of the wave (where the water is deepest) moves sufficiently faster than the trough (where the water is shallowest) that it "breaks" or falls over ahead of the trough and runs up across the shore.

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    $\begingroup$ does that mean only deep water waves are examples of simple harmonic waves and not the ones that we see in the shore. $\endgroup$ – sachin Sep 1 '18 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ yes- the near-shore waves are distorted in shape and cannot be approximated by simple harmonic waves. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Sep 1 '18 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ thanks a lot,may i know why waves are formed in the deep ocean,is it due to the wind flow and other natural turbulences. $\endgroup$ – sachin Sep 2 '18 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ the primary creator of waves in the open ocean is wind. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Sep 2 '18 at 4:56

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