What is the composition of the earth's lithosphere?

1 Answer
Feb 9, 2016


Rocks and upper mantle.


The name 'lithosphere' comes from the Greek words lithos, meaning 'rocky,' and sphaeros, meaning 'sphere'.

The lithosphere is Earth's outermost layer, composed of rocks in the crust and upper mantle that behave as brittle solids.

The parts of the crust that contain the world’s oceans are very different from the parts that form the continents. The continental crust is 10-70 km thick, while oceanic crust averages only 5-7 km in thickness.

The outermost part of the earth, known also as the lithosphere, is broken up into plates that are supported by the underlying mantle. New crust is formed where plates move away from each other under the oceans, and old crust is recycled back into the mantle as where plates moving in opposite directions collide.