How do the atmosphere and the lithosphere interact?

1 Answer
Apr 5, 2016


Via wind erosion, where the atmosphere changes the shape of the lithosphere, or volcanic eruption, where the lithosphere chemically alters the atmosphere.


The four main spheres of Earth are: lithosphere (hard land, rock, soil), atmosphere (air and chemicals in it), hydrosphere (water) and biosphere (living things). They are all extremely closely connected, and all affect each other. A tiny change in one of them might change all the others.

The atmosphere affect the lithosphere in processes like wind erosion, where currents in the air over long periods of time can wear away small parts of rock. Over very long periods of time, this can smooth down large areas of the lithosphere, creating flat plains of soil or worn-down rock faces.

The lithosphere can affect the atmosphere when tectonic plates move and cause an eruption, where magma below spews up as lava above. This can also release copious amounts of volcanic ash or soot, which pollutes the atmosphere, blocks radiation and creates a cooling effect. When ash settles it can compact into a rocky layer over the ground, which prevents certain litho- or bio-atmospheric interactions.