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I think the "slow wave" is probably an inherent part of the way Alta's technology works. And part of why they're succesfully marketing the technology to other businesses.
I was speaking to an IT manager at a successful dot-com who purchased AV's search technology. He was very pleased about the way things work in "modules" so there is no all-or-nothing process. For instance, if he's doing a full build of an index for their (very) large database and he hits a snafu, he doesn't need to start over at square one, as you might with conventional database indexing.
So, I assume this is part of the reason we see wave-like updates from AV.
That's exactly what this looks like - a wave update. That's fine with me, but if I'm not mistaken it looks like their algo may have been updated too. We had some sites listed very high for a long time that are now buried. We also have some pages that were not submitted and no longer exist showing up in the top 20 with dates like Sept. 27, 2000. Ahhh, search engines... Never boring, eh?! ;)