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!
Convection CurrentsThe mantle is made of much denser, thicker material, because of this the plates "float" on it like oil floats on water.Many geologists believe that the mantle "flows" because of convection currents. Convection currents are caused by the very hot material at the deepest part of the mantle rising, then cooling, sinking again and then heating, rising and repeating the cycle over and over. The next time you heat anything like soup or pudding in a pan you can watch the convection currents move in the liquid. When the convection currents flow in the mantle they also move the crust. The crust gets a free ride with these currents. A conveyor belt in a factory moves boxess like the convection currents in the mantle moves the plates of the Earth.