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Plate Tectnic
Publisher date : May 2008
Chapter title : EARTH' INTERIOR
Data title : 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!

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.


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