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Science

The Earth's crust

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The Earth has a layered structure, including the corecore: The core is the innermost part of the Earth., mantle [mantle: A zone of hot rock in the interior of the Earth, located between the outer crust and the molten core. ] and crust [crust: The outer layer of the Earth, on top of the mantle. It is between 6 and 48 kilometres thick and includes the continents and the ocean floor. ]. The crust and upper mantle are cracked into large pieces called tectonic plates. These plates move slowly, but can cause earthquakes and volcanoes where they meet.

The structure of the Earth

The Earth’s crust, its atmosphere and oceans are the only sources of the resources that humans need.

The outer-most layer is called the crust. The crust surrounds the mantle, which surrounds the core. There are 2 parts to the core - the outer core and the inner core, which is the inner most part of the Earth's structure.

Cross section showing structure of the Earth

The Earth is almost a sphere. These are its main layers, starting with the outermost:

  1. crust (relatively thin and rocky)
  2. mantle (has the properties of a solid, but can flow very slowly)
  3. core (made from liquid nickel and iron)

The radius of the core is just over half the radius of the Earth. The core itself consists of a solid inner core and a liquid outer core. The Earth’s atmosphere surrounds the Earth.

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