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What is isostatic equilibrium?

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Quick Answer

Isostatic equilibrium is the balance of forces that are acting against each other in a floating solution. The concept is most often used when referring to tectonic plates in the Earth's crust.

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What is isostatic equilibrium?
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Full Answer

Isostasy refers to the equilibrium that occurs between the Earth���s atmospheric layers and the tectonic plates. Due to the lithosphere and the asthenosphere, the tectonic plates float in equilibrium at different elevations in the Earth���s crust. The elevation depends on both the plates��� thickness and density. The concept of isostatic equilibrium can also explain how the Earth has a variation in topographic heights with all of the different flatlands and mountains on its surface.

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