Earth is made up of four layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core. The lithosphere is the rigid, outermost rocky shell of Earth and is composed of the crust and the upper portion of the mantle. Below that we find the lower part of the mantel, followed by the outer core and then the inner core.

Information about Earth's core are mostly derived from deep analysis of seismic waves and the study of Earth's magnetic field. Which have led scientists to belive that the outer core of earth is mostly composed of liquid iron and nickel while the inner core is a solid ball. The inner core has an estimated temperature of 5,430Β Β°C or 9,800Β Β°F which is roughly the same temptrature we find at surface of the Sun.

The thickness of the lithosphere varies depending on the type of crust above it. There are two types of crust that makes up earth's lithosphere - continental and oceanic crust. The thickness of the continetal crust is between 30 and 70 km and have a density of 2.7 g/cm3 with a primary mineral composition of silica and aluminium. While the oceanic crust is only between 5 and 12 km thick, with a density of 3.0 g/cm3 with a primary composition of silica and magnesium.

The lithosphere plays an important role in many geological processes, including the formation of mountains, the creation and movement of ocean basins, and the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes. It also provides a habitat for many living organisms and supports human activities such as agriculture, mining, and construction.

One of the key features of the lithosphere is its interaction with the other layers of the Earth's interior, including the asthenosphere and the deeper mantle. Heat and material are exchanged between these layers through processes such as convection and plate tectonics, which helps to drive the movement and evolution of the lithosphere over geological time.

The Lithosphere and the Inside of Earth

Earth Cutaway
  • 1a. Oceanic Crust
  • 1b. Continental Crust
  • 2. Mantle
  • 3a. Outer Core
  • 3b. Inner Core
  • 4. Lithosphere
  • 5. Asthenosphere

Outer Boundaries of the Lithosphere

The outer boundaries of the lithosphere are:

Common Questions

How thick is the lithosphere?

The thickness of the lithosphere varies, the continetal crust is between 30 and 70 km while the oceanic crust is only between 5 and 12 km.

How do we know what is inside the earth?

The short answer is, we can't know for certain, as mankind has only been able to drill 7km into the crust of the planet. A record drill which was made for research purposes on the Kola Peninsula in Russia near Murmansk in 1970. However, today scientists rely on seismic waves β€” shock waves generated by earthquakes and explosions that travel through Earth and across its surface to reveal the interior structure of the planet.

Data Sources