Structure of the Earth

Structure of the Earth

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Structure of the Earth'
Start a new discussion about 'Structure of the Earth'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

The interior structure of the Earth, similar to the outer, is layered. These layers can be defined by either their chemical
Chemical property
A chemical property is any of a material's properties that becomes evident during a chemical reaction; that is, any quality that can be established only by changing a substance's chemical identity...

 or their rheological
Rheology
Rheology is the study of the flow of matter, primarily in the liquid state, but also as 'soft solids' or solids under conditions in which they respond with plastic flow rather than deforming elastically in response to an applied force....

 properties. The Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 has an outer silicate
Silicate minerals
The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, constituting approximately 90 percent of the crust of the Earth. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate group...

 solid crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

, a highly viscous mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

, a liquid outer core
Outer core
The outer core of the Earth is a liquid layer about 2,266 kilometers thick composed of iron and nickel which lies above the Earth's solid inner core and below its mantle. Its outer boundary lies beneath the Earth's surface...

 that is much less viscous than the mantle, and a solid inner core
Inner core
The inner core of the Earth, its innermost hottest part as detected by seismological studies, is a primarily solid ball about in radius, or about 70% that of the Moon...

. Scientific understanding of Earth's internal structure is based on observations of topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 and bathymetry
Bathymetry
Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. In other words, bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to hypsometry. The name comes from Greek βαθύς , "deep", and μέτρον , "measure"...

, observations of rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 in outcrop
Outcrop
An outcrop is a visible exposure of bedrock or ancient superficial deposits on the surface of the Earth. -Features:Outcrops do not cover the majority of the Earth's land surface because in most places the bedrock or superficial deposits are covered by a mantle of soil and vegetation and cannot be...

, samples brought to the surface from greater depths by volcanic activity, analysis of the seismic wave
Seismic wave
Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the earth, and are a result of an earthquake, explosion, or a volcano that imparts low-frequency acoustic energy. Many other natural and anthropogenic sources create low amplitude waves commonly referred to as ambient vibrations. Seismic waves...

s that pass through the Earth, measurements of the gravity field of the Earth, and experiments with crystalline solids at pressures and temperatures characteristic of the Earth's deep interior.

Assumptions


The force exerted by Earth's gravity
Earth's gravity
The gravity of Earth, denoted g, refers to the acceleration that the Earth imparts to objects on or near its surface. In SI units this acceleration is measured in metres per second per second or equivalently in newtons per kilogram...

 can be used to calculate its mass, and by estimating the volume of the planet, its average density can be calculated. Astronomers can also calculate Earth's mass from its orbit and effects on nearby planetary bodies. Observations of rocks, bodies of water and atmosphere allow estimation of the mass, volume and density of rocks to a certain depth, so the remaining mass must be in the deeper layers.

Structure


The structure of Earth can be defined in two ways: by mechanical properties such as rheology
Rheology
Rheology is the study of the flow of matter, primarily in the liquid state, but also as 'soft solids' or solids under conditions in which they respond with plastic flow rather than deforming elastically in response to an applied force....

, or chemically. Mechanically, it can be divided into lithosphere
Lithosphere
The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet. On Earth, it comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.- Earth's lithosphere :...

, asthenosphere
Asthenosphere
The asthenosphere is the highly viscous, mechanically weak and ductilely-deforming region of the upper mantle of the Earth...

, mesosphere
Mesosphere (mantle)
The mesosphere refers to the mantle in the region between the asthenosphere and the outer core. The upper boundary is defined as the sharp increase in seismic wave velocities and density at a depth of 660 km...

, outer core
Outer core
The outer core of the Earth is a liquid layer about 2,266 kilometers thick composed of iron and nickel which lies above the Earth's solid inner core and below its mantle. Its outer boundary lies beneath the Earth's surface...

, and the inner core
Inner core
The inner core of the Earth, its innermost hottest part as detected by seismological studies, is a primarily solid ball about in radius, or about 70% that of the Moon...

. The interior of the earth is divided into 5 important layers. Chemically, Earth can be divided into the crust, upper mantle, lower mantle, outer core, and inner core. The geologic component layers of Earth are at the following depths below the surface:
Depth Layer
Kilometres Miles
0–60 0–37 Lithosphere (locally varies between 5 and 200 km)
0–35 0–22 … Crust (locally varies between 5 and 70 km)
35–60 22–37 … Uppermost part of mantle
35–2,890 22–1,790 Mantle
100–200 62–125 … Asthenosphere
35–660 22–410 … Upper mesosphere (upper mantle)
660–2,890 410–1,790 … Lower mesosphere (lower mantle)
2,890–5,150 1,790–3,160 Outer core
5,150–6,360 3,160–3,954 Inner core

The layering of Earth has been inferred indirectly using the time of travel of refracted and reflected seismic waves created by earthquakes. The core does not allow shear waves to pass through it, while the speed of travel (seismic velocity) is different in other layers. The changes in seismic velocity between different layers causes refraction owing to Snell's law
Snell's law
In optics and physics, Snell's law is a formula used to describe the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction, when referring to light or other waves passing through a boundary between two different isotropic media, such as water and glass...

. Reflections are caused by a large increase in seismic velocity and are similar to light reflecting from a mirror.

Core


The average density of Earth is 5,515 kg
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

/m3. Since the average density of surface material is only around 3,000 kg/m3, we must conclude that denser materials exist within Earth's core. Further evidence for the high density core comes from the study of seismology
Seismology
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic,...

.

Seismic measurements show that the core is divided into two parts, a solid inner core
Inner core
The inner core of the Earth, its innermost hottest part as detected by seismological studies, is a primarily solid ball about in radius, or about 70% that of the Moon...

 with a radius
Radius
In classical geometry, a radius of a circle or sphere is any line segment from its center to its perimeter. By extension, the radius of a circle or sphere is the length of any such segment, which is half the diameter. If the object does not have an obvious center, the term may refer to its...

 of ~1,220 km and a liquid outer core extending beyond it to a radius of ~3,400 km. The solid inner core was discovered in 1936 by Inge Lehmann
Inge Lehmann
Inge Lehmann FRS , was a Danish seismologist who, in 1936, argued that the Earth's core is not one single molten sphere, but that an inner core exists which has physical properties that are different from those of the outer core.-Life:Inge Lehmann was born and grew up in Østerbro, a part of...

 and is generally believed to be composed primarily of iron and some nickel.
In early stages of Earth's formation about 4.5 billion (4.5) years ago, melting would have caused denser substances to sink toward the center in a process called planetary differentiation
Planetary differentiation
In planetary science, planetary differentiation is the process of separating out different constituents of a planetary body as a consequence of their physical or chemical behaviour, where the body develops into compositionally distinct layers; the denser materials of a planet sink to the center,...

 (see also the iron catastrophe
Iron catastrophe
The iron catastrophe was a major event early in the history of Earth. After accumulation of the Earth's material into a spherical mass, the material was mostly uniform in composition...

), while less-dense materials would have migrated to the crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

. The core is thus believed to largely be composed of iron (80%), along with nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 and one or more light elements, whereas other dense elements, such as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, either are too rare to be significant or tend to bind to lighter elements and thus remain in the crust (see felsic materials
Felsic
The word "felsic" is a term used in geology to refer to silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium....

). Some have argued that the inner core may be in the form of a single iron crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

.

On August 30, 2011, Professor Kei Hirose, professor of high-pressure mineral physics and petrology at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, became the first person to recreate conditions found at the earth's core under laboratory conditions, subjecting a sample of iron nickel alloy to the same type of pressure by gripping it in a vice between 2 diamond tips, and then heating the sample to approximately 4000 Kelvins with a laser. The sample was observed with x-rays, and strongly supported the theory that the earth's inner core was made of giant crystals running north to south.

The liquid outer core surrounds the inner core and is believed to be composed of iron mixed with nickel and trace amounts of lighter elements.

Recent speculation suggests that the innermost part of the core is enriched in gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, platinum
Platinum
Platinum is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto, which is literally translated into "little silver of the Pinto River." It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal...

 and other siderophile elements.

The matter that comprises Earth is connected in fundamental ways to matter of certain chondrite
Chondrite
Chondrites are stony meteorites that have not been modified due to melting or differentiation of the parent body. They formed when various types of dust and small grains that were present in the early solar system accreted to form primitive asteroids...

 meteorites, and to matter of outer portion of the Sun. There is good reason to believe that Earth is, in the main, like a chondrite meteorite. Beginning as early as 1940, scientists, including Francis Birch
Francis Birch (geophysicist)
Albert Francis Birch was an American geophysicist best known for his experimental work on the properties of Earth-forming minerals at high pressure and temperature, in 1952 he published a well-known paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research ,where he demonstrated that the mantle is chiefly...

, built geophysics upon the premise that Earth is like ordinary chondrites, the most common type of meteorite observed impacting Earth, while totally ignoring another, albeit less abundant type, called enstatite
Enstatite
Enstatite is the magnesium endmember of the pyroxene silicate mineral series enstatite - ferrosilite . The magnesium rich members of the solid solution series are common rock-forming minerals found in igneous and metamorphic rocks...

 chondrites. The principal difference between the two meteorite types is that enstatite chondrites formed under circumstances of extremely limited available oxygen, leading to certain normally oxyphile elements existing either partially or wholly in the alloy portion that corresponds to the core of Earth.

Dynamo theory
Dynamo theory
In geophysics, dynamo theory proposes a mechanism by which a celestial body such as the Earth or a star generates a magnetic field. The theory describes the process through which a rotating, convecting, and electrically conducting fluid can maintain a magnetic field over astronomical time...

 suggests that convection in the outer core, combined with the Coriolis effect
Coriolis effect
In physics, the Coriolis effect is a deflection of moving objects when they are viewed in a rotating reference frame. In a reference frame with clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the left of the motion of the object; in one with counter-clockwise rotation, the deflection is to the right...

, gives rise to Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth's inner core to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emanating from the Sun...

. The solid inner core is too hot to hold a permanent magnetic field (see Curie temperature) but probably acts to stabilize the magnetic field generated by the liquid outer core. The average magnetic field strength in the Earth's outer core is estimated to be 25 Gauss, 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface.

Recent evidence has suggested that the inner core of Earth may rotate slightly faster than the rest of the planet. In August 2005 a team of geophysicists announced in the journal Science
Science (journal)
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....

that, according to their estimates, Earth's inner core rotates approximately 0.3 to 0.5 degrees per year relative to the rotation of the surface.

The current scientific explanation for the Earth's temperature gradient
Geothermal gradient
Geothermal gradient is the rate of increasing temperature with respect to increasing depth in the Earth's interior. Away from tectonic plate boundaries, it is 25–30°C per km of depth in most of the world. Strictly speaking, geo-thermal necessarily refers to the Earth but the concept may be applied...

 is a combination of heat left over from the planet's initial formation, decay of radioactive elements, and freezing of the inner core.

Mantle



Earth's mantle extends to a depth of 2,890 km, making it the thickest layer of the Earth. The pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

, at the bottom of the mantle, is ~140 GPa
Pascal (unit)
The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength, named after the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre...

 (1.4 Matm
Atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area exerted into a surface by the weight of air above that surface in the atmosphere of Earth . In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point...

). The mantle is composed of silicate
Silicate
A silicate is a compound containing a silicon bearing anion. The great majority of silicates are oxides, but hexafluorosilicate and other anions are also included. This article focuses mainly on the Si-O anions. Silicates comprise the majority of the earth's crust, as well as the other...

 rocks that are rich in iron and magnesium relative to the overlying crust. Although solid, the high temperatures within the mantle cause the silicate material to be sufficiently ductile
Ductility
In materials science, ductility is a solid material's ability to deform under tensile stress; this is often characterized by the material's ability to be stretched into a wire. Malleability, a similar property, is a material's ability to deform under compressive stress; this is often characterized...

 that it can flow on very long timescales. Convection
Convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

 of the mantle is expressed at the surface through the motions of tectonic plates
Tectonic Plates
Tectonic Plates is a 1992 independent Canadian film directed by Peter Mettler. Mettler also wrote the screenplay based on the play by Robert Lepage. The film stars Marie Gignac, Céline Bonnier and Robert Lepage.-Plot summary:...

. The melting point
Melting point
The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

 and viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

 of a substance depends on the pressure it is under. As there is intense and increasing pressure as one travels deeper into the mantle, the lower part of the mantle flows less easily than does the upper mantle (chemical changes within the mantle may also be important). The viscosity of the mantle ranges between 1021 and 1024 Pa·s, depending on depth. In comparison, the viscosity of water is approximately 10−3 Pa·s and that of pitch
Pitch drop experiment
The pitch drop experiment is a long-term experiment which measures the flow of a piece of pitch over many years. Pitch is the name for any of a number of highly viscous liquids which appear solid, most commonly bitumen...

 is 107 Pa·s.

Crust


The crust ranges from 5–70 km in depth and is the outermost layer. The thin parts are the oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

, which underlie the ocean basins (5–10 km) and are composed of dense (mafic
Mafic
Mafic is an adjective describing a silicate mineral or rock that is rich in magnesium and iron; the term is a portmanteau of the words "magnesium" and "ferric". Most mafic minerals are dark in color and the relative density is greater than 3. Common rock-forming mafic minerals include olivine,...

) iron magnesium silicate
Silicate
A silicate is a compound containing a silicon bearing anion. The great majority of silicates are oxides, but hexafluorosilicate and other anions are also included. This article focuses mainly on the Si-O anions. Silicates comprise the majority of the earth's crust, as well as the other...

 rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

s, like basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

.The thicker crust is continental crust
Continental crust
The continental crust is the layer of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks which form the continents and the areas of shallow seabed close to their shores, known as continental shelves. This layer is sometimes called sial due to more felsic, or granitic, bulk composition, which lies in...

, which is less dense and composed of (felsic
Felsic
The word "felsic" is a term used in geology to refer to silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium....

) sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

 potassium aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 silicate rocks, like granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

. The rocks of the crust fall into two major categories - sial and sima (Suess,1831–1914). As the main mineral constituents of the continental mass are silica and aluminium, it is thus called sial
Sial
In geology, the sial is the upper layer of the Earth's crust made of rocks rich in silicates and aluminium minerals. It is sometimes equated with the continental crust because it is absent in the wide oceanic basins, but "sial" is a geochemical term rather than a plate tectonic term.Geologists...

 (si-silica, 65–75% and al-aluminium). The oceanic crust mainly consists of silica and magnesium. it is therefore called sima
Sima (geology)
Sima is the name for the lower layer of the Earth's crust. This layer is made of rocks rich in magnesium silicate minerals. Typically when the sima comes to the surface it is basalt, so sometimes this layer is called the 'basalt layer' of the crust. The sima layer is also called the 'basal crust'...

 (si-silica and ma-magnesium). It is estimated that sima starts about 11 km below the Conrad discontinuity
Conrad discontinuity
The Conrad discontinuity corresponds to the sub-horizontal plane that takes place in the continental crust in which the seismic wave velocity increases in discontinuous mode...

 (a second order discontinuity). The uppermost mantle together with the crust constitutes the lithosphere
Lithosphere
The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet. On Earth, it comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.- Earth's lithosphere :...

. The crust-mantle boundary occurs as two physically different events. First, there is a discontinuity in the seismic
Seismic wave
Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the earth, and are a result of an earthquake, explosion, or a volcano that imparts low-frequency acoustic energy. Many other natural and anthropogenic sources create low amplitude waves commonly referred to as ambient vibrations. Seismic waves...

 velocity, which is known as the Mohorovičić discontinuity
Mohorovičić discontinuity
The Mohorovičić discontinuity , usually referred to as the Moho, is the boundary between the Earth's crust and the mantle. Named after the pioneering Croatian seismologist Andrija Mohorovičić, the Moho separates both the oceanic crust and continental crust from underlying mantle...

 or Moho. The cause of the Moho is thought to be a change in rock composition from rocks containing plagioclase feldspar
Feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

 (above) to rocks that contain no feldspars (below). Second, in oceanic crust, there is a chemical
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 discontinuity between ultramafic cumulates and tectonized harzburgite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

s, which has been observed from deep parts of the oceanic crust that have been obducted
Obduction
Obduction is the overthrusting of continental crust by oceanic crust or mantle rocks at a convergent plate boundary. It can occur during an orogeny, or mountain-building episode....

 onto the continental crust and preserved as ophiolite sequences
Ophiolites
An ophiolite is a section of the Earth's oceanic crust and the underlying upper mantle that has been uplifted and exposed above sea level and often emplaced onto continental crustal rocks...

.

Many rocks now making up Earth's crust formed less than 100 million (1) years ago; however, the oldest known mineral grains are 4.4 billion (4.4) years old, indicating that Earth has had a solid crust for at least that long.

Historical development of alternative conceptions




In 1692 Edmund Halley (in a paper printed in Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society of London) put forth the idea of Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 consisting of a hollow shell about 500 miles thick, with two inner concentric shells around an innermost core, corresponding to the diameters of the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury respectively. Halley's construct was a method of accounting for the (flawed) values of the relative density of Earth and the Moon that had been given by Sir Isaac Newton, in Principia (1687). "Sir Isaac Newton has demonstrated the Moon to be more solid than our Earth, as 9 to 5," Halley remarked; "why may we not then suppose four ninths of our globe to be cavity?"

See also


  • Rain-out model
    Rain-out model
    The rain-out model is a model of planetary science which describes the first stage of planetary differentiation and core formation. According to this model, a planetary body is assumed to be composed primarily of silicate minerals and NiFe . If temperatures within this body reach about 1500 K,...

  • Mohorovičić discontinuity
    Mohorovičić discontinuity
    The Mohorovičić discontinuity , usually referred to as the Moho, is the boundary between the Earth's crust and the mantle. Named after the pioneering Croatian seismologist Andrija Mohorovičić, the Moho separates both the oceanic crust and continental crust from underlying mantle...

    , boundary crust and mantle.
  • Core-mantle boundary
    Core-mantle boundary
    The core–mantle boundary lies between the Earth's silicate mantle and its liquid iron-nickel outer core. This boundary is located at approximately 2900 km of depth beneath the Earth's surface. The boundary is observed via the discontinuity in seismic wave velocities at that depth...

  • Hollow Earth
    Hollow Earth
    The Hollow Earth hypothesis proposes that the planet Earth is either entirely hollow or otherwise contains a substantial interior space. The hypothesis has been shown to be wrong by observational evidence, as well as by the modern understanding of planet formation; the scientific community has...

  • Lehmann discontinuity
    Lehmann discontinuity
    The Lehmann discontinuity refers to an abrupt increase of P-wave and S-wave velocities in the vicinity of 220±30 km depth, discovered by seismologist Inge Lehmann. It appears beneath continents, but not usually beneath oceans, and does not readily appear in globally averaged studies...

  • Hydridic Earth theory
    Hydridic Earth theory
    The Hydridic Earth theory is a theory proposed in 1968 by Soviet geologist Vladimir Larin. The theory contradicts the generally accepted views on the Structure of the Earth...

  • Receiver function
    Receiver function
    A receiver function technique is a way to model the structure of the Earth by using the information from teleseismic earthquakes recorded at a three component seismograph....