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Homework Help: Ocean waves parallel to the shore

  1. Feb 1, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Explain, using Huygen's Principle, why ocean waves break parallel to the shore.
    2. Relevant equations
    3. The attempt at a solution
    Okay, I know that the speed of the waves decreases as the water gets shallower. Therefore, since the frequency is the same, the wavelength decreases. The water is bent towards the normal to the shore, this breaking approximately parallel to it. But how do I bring in Huygen's Principle?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Is that correct?

    How to explain the wave phenomenon observed?

    Huygens's Principle:
    every point on a propagating wavefront serves as the source of spherical secondary wavelets, such that the wavefront at some later time is the envelope of these wavelets. If the propagating wave has a frequency, f, and is transmitted through the medium at a speed, v, then the secondary wavelets will have the same frequency and speed.
  4. Feb 1, 2015 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Water doesn't bend. Can you express that a bit more accurately?
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