The lithosphere is the solid, outer layer of the Earth, and it is around 100 kilometers thick. It consists of the brittle upper portion of the crust and mantle. It is divided into huge sections called tectonic plates, on which the continents sit.Continue Reading
According to National Geographic, the movement of the lithospheric plates, called plate tectonics, is responsible for many geologic events on Earth. Earthquakes and volcanoes are created when plates move beneath each other or when two plates rub against one another. Scientists believe that the continents originated from a single landmass known as Pangaea. The lithosphere broke apart, resulting in the separation of Pangaea into different landmasses.
According to Encyclopedia World of Earth Science, the lithosphere extends from the Earth’s surface to a depth of approximately 70 to 100 kilometers. This relatively cool, rigid section “floats” on top of a warmer, partially melted and non-rigid material. The temperature reaches 1,000 degrees Celsius below the lithosphere, allowing rock material to flow when pressurized. Based on seismic evidence, there is also around 10 percent molten material at this depth.
The zone beneath the lithosphere is the asthenosphere. Windows to the Universe states that the asthenosphere is ductile, and it can be deformed and pushed. When it flows, it carries the lithosphere and continents above it.Learn more about Layers of the Earth
While iron and nickel form the liquid outer layer of Earth's core, the solid inner core is made mostly of iron. The iron in Earth's core is what gives the planet its magnetic field.Full Answer >
Containing everything from the ocean basins to continents, the crust is the outermost layer of the Earth. Overall, the crust makes up very little of the Earth's mass, so the other layers, which are the mantle, outer core and inner core, are much thicker.Full Answer >
The Earth's crust, which is Earth's outermost layer, is a thin layer. Comprised of two kinds of crusts, continental and oceanic crusts, it is merely 0.473 percent of Earth's mass. The ocean crust's thickness is around 7 km, while the continental crust's thickness is from 10 to 75 km.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >