Wave Motion - Mission WM3 Detailed Help

An ocean-going vessel uses sonar to measure the depth of the ocean. If a sound wave sent from the ship bounces off the ocean floor 525.0 m below and returns to the ship after 0.875 seconds, then what is the speed (in m/s) of the sound waves in water?
(Note: Your numbers are selected at random and likely different from the numbers listed here.)

The speed of a wave refers to how fast it travels through a medium. By definition, it is the distance traveled per unit of time.

Speed = distance traveled / time of travel = d / t

It is an all too common tendency of a physics student to view physics problems as simply math exercises. For certain, physics problems will exercise your math skills. But don't be fooled! A physics problem such as this one is more than a math exercise; it is a test of your ability to read, interpret, visualize and analyze. And if you are missing this question, it is not because your math has failed you. Rather, there is a need to read more carefully, analyze the question, interpret what is happening and visualize the situation. In the short 0.875 seconds of time, the sound wave travels from ocean surface to the ocean floor 525.0 m below and then another 525.0 m back up to the ocean surface. The total distance traveled by the wave in this amount of time is 1050.0 m. Now you can do your math.


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