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seismic velocity The speed with which an elastic wave propagates through a medium. For non-dispersive body waves, the seismic velocity is equal to both the phase and group velocities; for dispersive surface waves, the seismic velocity is usually taken to be the phase velocity. Seismic velocity is assumed usually to increase with increasing depth and when measured in a vertical direction it may be 10–15% lower than when measured parallel to strata. See ANISOTROPY.