Lesson Flashcards: Components of Earth

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Definition

The crust

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

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Definition

Sial

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

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Definition

Sima

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)

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Definition

Continental crust

The crust that extends beneath the continents

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Definition

Oceanic crust

The crust that extends beneath the oceans

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Definition

The lithosphere

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

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Definition

The asthenosphere

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

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Definition

The outer core

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

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Definition

The inner core

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

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Definition

Isostatic equilibrium

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

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