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lithosphere

Lithosphere
Image: National Geographic/Joanne Lembeck

Lithosphere

Of all of the huge parts of planet Earth, our most familiar is the lithosphere, which includes the rocky crust and its continents and ocean floor. It may seem solid, but it’s broken into tectonic plates that are always shifting.

Find out what makes the lithosphere move and its role in dramatic geologic events.

National Geographic
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Slip, Slide, and Collide

Slip, Slide, and Collide

The Ring of Fire is a creation of colliding tectonic plates — giant chunks of Earth's lithosphere. See how these plates move and what happens when they can’t avoid hitting each other. More...

Interactive
Annenberg Learner
Plate Tectonics: Crust, Lithosphere, Mantle

Plate Tectonics: Crust, Lithosphere, Mantle

The depth of the lithosphere and the temperature, composition, and thickness of the crust are the variables affecting movement of tectonic plates. Change them to see what happens. More...

Interactive
PhET
Earth’s Crust, Lithosphere, and Asthenosphere

Earth’s Crust, Lithosphere, and Asthenosphere

Layer upon layer of Earth’s composition may seem complicated. Get a good cross-section view of the rocky lithosphere moving over the hotter, more fluid asthenosphere. More...

Article
Windows to the Universe
Introduction: Lithosphere

Introduction: Lithosphere

The solid lithosphere surrounds the entire planet, even underwater. So what’s it made of? Lots of elements, but the most predominant may be a surprise. Hint: Take a deep breath. More...

Article
Oswego City School District
Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, & Atmosphere

Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, & Atmosphere

Take a closer look at Earth's three layers and how they interact with this StudyJams! slide show. Then test yourself with 7-question quiz. More...

Interactive
Scholastic
Plate Tectonics: Difference Between Crust and Lithosphere

Plate Tectonics: Difference Between Crust and Lithosphere

Our familiar terrestrial crust sits on top of the layer of Earth called the lithosphere, and it’s always pushing and pulling. Discover what lies beneath the outermost layer, and what propels its movement. More...

Video
Khan Academy
Real Scientist: Carol Reiss

Real Scientist: Carol Reiss

Geologists explore the history of the Earth, just like historians, but instead of reading texts, geologists read rocks — called the geologic record. Find out what else geologists do in this profile. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
The Lithosphere

The Lithosphere

Both part of the lithosphere, the continents are granite and the ocean floors are basalt. See why their difference in density and weight is significant. More...

Article
Oregon State University

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