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The Four Layers

The Earth is composed of four different layers. Many geologists believe that as the Earth cooled the heavier, denser materials sank to the center and the lighter materials rose to the top. Because of this, the crust is made of the lightest materials (rock- basalts and granites) and the core consists of heavy metals (nickel and iron). The crust is the layer that you live on, and it is the most widely studied and understood. The mantle is much hotter and has the ability to flow. The Outer and Inner Cores are hotter still with pressures so great that you would be squeezed into a ball smaller than a marble if you were able to go to the center of the Earth

The Crust
The Earth's Crust is like the skin of an apple. It is very thin in comparison to the other three layers. The crust is only about 3-5 miles (8 kilometers) thick under the oceans(oceanic crust) and about 25 miles (32 kilometers) thick under the continents (continental crust). The temperatures of the crust vary from air temperature on top to about 1600 degrees Fahrenheit (870 degrees Celcius) in the deepest parts of the crust. You can bake a loaf of bread in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit , at 1600 degrees F. rocks begin to melt. The crust of the Earth is broken into many pieces called plates. The plates "float" on the soft, plastic mantle which is located below the crust. These plates usually move along smoothly but sometimes they stick and build up pressure. The pressure builds and the rock bends until it snaps. When this occurs an Earthquake is the result! Notice how thin the crust of the Earth is in comparison to the other layers. The seven continents and ocean plates basically float across the mantle which is composed of much hotter and denser material.

The crust is composed of two basic rock types granite and basalt. The continental crust is composed mostly of granite. The oceanic crust consists of a volcanic lava rock called basalt. Basaltic rocks of the ocean plates are much denser and heavier than the granitic rock of the continental plates. Because of this the continents ride on the denser oceanic plates. The crust and the upper layer of the mantle together make up a zone of rigid, brittle rock called the Lithosphere. The layer below the rigid lithosphere is a zone of asphalt-like consistancy called the Asthenosphere. The asthenosphere is the part of the mantle that flows and moves the plates of the Earth

The Mantle
The mantle is the layer located directly under the sima. It is the largest layer of the Earth, 1800 miles thick. The mantle is composed of very hot, dense rock. This layer of rock even flows like asphalt under a heavy weight. This flow is due to great temperature differences from the bottom to the top of the mantle. The movement of the mantle is the reason that the plates of the Earth move! The temperature of the mantle varies from 1600

degrees Fahrenheit at the top to about 4000 degrees Fahrenheit near the bottom

Outer Core
The core of the Earth is like a ball of very hot metals. (4000 degrees F. to 9000 degrees F.) The outer core is so hot that the metals in it are all in the liquid state. The outer core is located about 1800 milesbeneath the crust and is about 1400 miles thick. The outer core is composed of the melted metals nickel and iron

Inner Core
The inner core of the Earth has temperatures and pressures so great that the metals are squeezed together and are not able to move about like a liquid, but are forced to vibrate in place as a solid. The inner core begins about 4000 miles beneath the crust and is about 800 miles thick. The temperatures may reach 9000 dgrees F. and the pressures are 45,000,000 pounds per square inch. This is 3,000,000 times the air pressure on you at sea level

The crust is composed of two basic rock types granite and basalt. The continental crust is composed mostly of granite. The oceanic crust consists of a volcanic lava rock called basalt. Basaltic rocks of the ocean plates are much denser and heavier than the granitic rock of the continental plates. Because of this the continents ride on the denser oceanic plates. The crust and the upper layer of the mantle together make up a zone of rigid, brittle rock called the Lithosphere. The layer below the rigid lithosphere is a zone of asphalt-like consistancy called the Asthenosphere. The asthenosphere is the part of the mantle that flows and moves the plates of the Earth

geological observation
GEOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS One way that we can find out what is under the surface is to drill. Many countries have attempted to drill wells down into the Earth’s crust but attempts come into trouble around the 7km depth. The deepest well belongs to the Soviets (Russian) and it is located on the Northern Kola Peninsula. It is the result of a twenty-year effort to drill to a target depth of 15km but fell short at 12km in 1989. It took 5 years to drill 7km; 9 years to drill the next 5km and at the bottom of the hole the temperature was 190ºC. From doing this information about the Earth’s interior can be determined at roughly 12km, now what about deepe r? Volcanic activity brings up materials in magma such as Xenoliths that are pieces of mantle in the lava, example: coarse-grained olivine (peridotite) xenoliths in basaltic lava. This is only useful to depth of about 200 km. Well that takes care of most of the mantle (lithosphere and asthenosphere) but what about the core? The best evidence of core composition comes from samples from the solar system, ie. iron meteorites. These meteorites are believed to be the core of small protoplanets that were shattered in the early life of the solar system. There composition is thought to be extremely similar to Earth’s and the other terrestrial planets. The last and most widely used method is that of seismology. (Seismos is a Greek word meaning shock)³. Seismology deals with seismic waves, which are vibrations in the body of the Earth. Scientists categorize seismic movements into four types of diagnostic waves that travel at speeds ranging from 3 to 15km per

second. Two of the waves travel around the surface of the Earth in rolling swells and are called surface waves. The other two, Primary (P) or compression waves and Secondary (S) or shear waves, penetrate the interior of the Earth. Primary waves compress and dilate the matter they travel through (either rock or liquid) similar to sound waves. They also have the ability to move twice as fast as S waves. Secondary waves propagate through rock but are not able to travel through liquid. Both P and S waves refract or reflect at points where layers of differing physical properties meet. They also reduce speed when moving through hotter material. These changes in direction and velocity are the means of locating discontinuities. These Seismic discontinuities aid in distinguishing the divisions of the Earth into inner core, outer core, mantle etc.

heat movement

CONVECTION: In liquids and gases, convection is usually the most efficient way to transfer heat. Convection occurs when warmer areas of a liquid or gas rise to cooler areas in the liquid or gas. As this happens, cooler liquid or gas takes the place of the warmer areas which have risen higher. This cycle results in a continous circulation pattern and heat is transfered to cooler areas. You see convection when you boil water in a pan. The bubbles of water that rise are the hotter parts of the water rising to the cooler area of water at the top of the pan. You have probably heard the expression "Hot air rises and cool air falls to take its place" - this is a description of convection in our atmosphere. Heat energy is transfered by the circulation of the air. Heat can be transferred
from one place to another by three methods: conduction in solids, convection of fluids (liquids or gases), and radiation through anything that will allow radiation to pass. The method used to transfer heat is usually the one that is the most efficient. If there is a temperature difference in a system, heat will always move from higher to lower temperatures

difference between inner and outer core

The inner core appears to be solid, the outer core liquid. Composition is roughly the same nickel-iron mix. Pressure and temperature are greater in the inner core