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Q & A: Sea Water Sounds

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
How fast can sound travel through sea water?
- kristina (age 14)
dalls,tx,usa
A:
Kristina -

The exact speed of sound in sea water will depend on the water pressure (which depends on how deep underwater you are), the temperature of the water, and the salinity of the water (how salty it is). In general, the speed of sound in the oceans of the Earth tends to fall between 1450 m/s and 1550 m/s. Here's a great graph that shows the speed of sound at various depths in different seas around the Earth:

Speed of sound

(from http://geosun.sjsu.edu/105d/exped13/18.html)

For a cool automatic calculator that lets you calculate the exact speed of sound at various temperatures, pressures, and salinities, click .

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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