Sunday, 17 August 2014

Crust Of The Earth

Crust Of the Earth

Igeology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle. The crusts of Earth, the MoonMercuryVenusMarsIo, and other planetary bodies have been generated largely by igneous processes, and these crusts are richer in incompatible elements than their respective mantles.
The crust of the Earth is composed of a great variety of igneousmetamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The crust is underlain by the mantle. The upper part of the mantle is composed mostly of peridotite, a rock denser than rocks common in the overlying crust. The boundary between the crust and mantle is conventionally placed at the Mohorovičić discontinuity, a boundary defined by a contrast in seismic velocity. The crust occupies less than 1% of Earth's volume. 
The oceanic crust of the sheet is different from its continental crust. The oceanic crust is 5 km (3 mi) to 10 km (6 mi) thick and is composed primarily of basaltdiabase, and gabbro. The continental crust is typically from 30 km (20 mi) to 50 km (30 mi) thick and is mostly composed of slightly less dense rocks than those of the oceanic crust. Some of these less dense rocks, such as granite, are common in the continental crust but rare to absent in the oceanic crust. Both the continental and oceanic crust "float" on the mantle. Because the continental crust is thicker, it extends both above and below the oceanic crust. The slightly lighter density of felsic continental rock compared to basaltic ocean rock contributes to the higher relative elevation of the top of the continental crust. Because the top of the continental crust is above that of the oceanic, water runs off the continents and collects above the oceanic crust. The continental crust and the oceanic crust are sometimes called sial and sima respectively. Because of the change in velocity of seismic waves it is believed that on continents at a certain depth sial becomes close in its physical properties to sima, and the dividing line is called the Conrad discontinuity.

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