What Is Continental Crust?

The continental crust is the outer layer of the Earth's surface, which consists of several types of rock. It is comprised of 15 tectonic plates that form the continents and their surrounding seabeds, which are called continental shelves.

The continental crust is located below any major land formations and is less dense than oceanic crust. Both crust layers are found above the Earth's mantle layer, a semisolid layer of magma and other types of rock. The oceanic crust constantly sinks below the continental crust through a process called subduction, which leads to geological processes such as volcanic activity and tectonic shifting. Subduction causes the oceanic crust to melt consistently into the mantle and reform as a new layer.