RIS Response to Ocean Waves: Flexure

Gravity waves have different wavelengths, depending on frequency, with ocean swell wavelengths 15 km at the shelf front.
The percentage of gravity-wave energy that can penetrate the sub-shelf water cavity depends on wavelength. Because of their much longer wavelengths than swell, a much larger percentage of the IG wave energy can penetrate the sub-shelf water cavity. These can flex the shelf from below, potentially expanding pre-existing cracks and fissures.