The lithosphere is the solid, outer part of the Earth, consisting of the brittle upper portion of the mantle and the crust.

You are watching: The lithosphere lies directly above the

This perform the logos of programs or partner of NG education which have noted or added the content on this page. Leveled by


Thelithosphereis the solid, outer part of the Earth. The lithosphere consists of thebrittleupper portion of themantleand thecrust, the outermost layers of Earth’s structure. That is bounded by theatmosphereabove and also theasthenosphere(another component of the upper mantle) below.

Although therocks of the lithosphere are still consideredelastic, they room notviscous. The asthenosphereisviscous, and also thelithosphere-asthenosphere border (LAB)is the point wheregeologists andrheologists—scientists who study the circulation of matter—mark the distinction in ductility in between the two layers that the upper mantle.Ductilitymeasures a hard material’s capacity to deform or big under stress. The lithosphere is far less ductile than the asthenosphere.

There space two types of lithosphere: oceanic lithosphere and continental lithosphere. Oceanic lithosphere is associated withoceanic crust, and is slightlydenser 보다 continental lithosphere.

Plate Tectonics

The most famous feature connected with Earth’s lithosphere istectonic activity. Tectonic activity describes the interaction of the vast slabs the lithosphere calledtectonic plates.

The lithosphere is divided into tectonic plates consisting of the phibìc American, Caribbean, south American, Scotia, Antarctic, Eurasian, Arabian, African, Indian, Philippine, Australian, Pacific, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, and also Nazca.

Most tectonic activity takes ar at the boundaries of this plates, wherein they might collide, tear apart, or slide versus each other. The motion of tectonic bowl is made feasible bythermal energy(heat) from the mantle part of the lithosphere. Thermal energy makes the rocks that the lithosphere an ext elastic.

Tectonic activity is responsible for some of Earth"s most dramaticgeologicevents:earthquakes,volcanoes,orogeny(mountain-building), and deepocean trenches deserve to all be created by tectonic activity in the lithosphere.

Tectonic activity can shape the lithosphere itself: Both oceanic and continental lithospheres room thinnest atrift valleys andocean ridges, whereby tectonic plates are changing apart indigenous one another.

How the Lithosphere Interacts with other Spheres

The cool, brittle lithosphere is just one of five good “spheres” that form theenvironmentof Earth. The various other spheres room thebiosphere(Earth’s living things); thecryosphere(Earth’s frozen regions, consisting of both ice and frozen soil); thehydrosphere(Earth’s liquid water); and also the environment (the air neighboring our planet). These spheres interact to affect such diverse facets as oceansalinity,biodiversity, andlandscape.

For instance, the pedosphere is component of the lithosphere do ofsoiland dirt. Thepedosphereis produced by the communication of the lithosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and also biosphere. Enormous, hard rocks the the lithosphere might be ground under to flour by the powerful movement that aglacier(cyrosphere).Weatheringanderosioncaused bywind(atmosphere) orrain(hydrosphere) may likewise wear under rocks in the lithosphere. Theorganiccomponents that the biosphere, consisting of plant and animalremains, mix with these eroded rocks come createfertilesoil—the pedosphere.

See more: Can A Spayed Cat Produce Milk Even Though They Are Not Pregnant?

The lithosphere likewise interacts v the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and also cryosphere to influence temperature differences on Earth. High mountains, for example, frequently have drastically lower temperature thanvalleys orhills. The mountain variety of the lithosphere is interacting with the lowerair pressureof the atmosphere and also thesnowyprecipitationof the hydrosphere to produce a cool or also icyclimate zone. A region’s climate zone, in turn, influencesadaptations crucial for organisms of the region’s biosphere.