Sial or SiAl is also the name for the upper layer of the Earth's crust, which is also known as the continental crust because it is absent in the wide oceanic basins. This layer is made of rocks rich in silicates and aluminium minerals. When the sial comes to the surface it is typically granitic, so sometimes this layer is called the 'granitic layer' of the crust. Geologists often refer to the rocks in this layer as felsic. On the continental plates the sial runs between 5 km and 70 km deep. Because in a real sense the sial floats on the sima, mountains extend down as well as up, much like icebergs on the ocean, hence the great variation in depth. See Isostasy.
The name 'sial' was taken from the first two letters of silica and of aluminium. Comparable is the name 'sima' which is the name for the lower layer of the Earth's crust, which is exposed in the ocean basins.
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