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Lesson Flashcards: Components of Earth Geology

The hydrosphere

The component of Earth that includes all the water that exists on the planet’s surface, in the ground, and in the air (as water vapor)


Granitic rocks rich in silica and aluminum that form the upper layer of Earth’s crust (forming the majority of the continental crust)

Isostatic equilibrium

When the buoyancy force pushing the crust up equals the gravitational force pulling it toward Earth’s center

The biosphere

The zone of life on Earth that includes all living organisms, the hydrosphere, the upper part of the lithosphere, and the lower part of the atmosphere

Continental crust

The crust that extends beneath the continents


Basaltic rocks rich in silica and magnesium that form the lower layer of Earth’s crust below the sial layer (forming the majority of the oceanic crust)

The lithosphere

The solid outer part of Earth that is composed of the crust and the uppermost part of the mantle

The inner core

The most central layer of Earth’s internal structure and is composed of solid iron and nickel

The crust

The outermost layer of Earth and the thinnest of all Earth’s layers

Oceanic crust

The crust that extends beneath the oceans

The asthenosphere

The lower part of the upper mantle that is partially melted and lies directly beneath the lithosphere

The atmosphere

The mixture of gases that surrounds Earth, providing protection from harmful solar radiation and enabling organisms to respire

The outer core

A liquid iron and nickel layer within Earth’s internal structure that lies beneath the mantle

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