Plate tectonics


The uppermost outer solid and rigid layer of the earth is called crust. Its thickness varies considerably. It is as little as 5 km thick beneath the oceans at some places but under some mountain ranges it extends upto a depth of 700km. Below the crust denser rocks are found, known as mantle crust. This upper part of mantle upto an average depth of 100 km from the surface is solid. This solid mantle plus upper crust form a comparatively rigid block termed as lithosphere. Mantle is partially molten between 100 to 250 km depth. This zone is said to be asthenosphere, also known as Mohr discontinuity, a simplification of Mohorovicic, the name of the seismologist who discovered it.
The lithosphere is broken into several blocks. These blocks are known as plates, which are moving over asthenosphere. There are seven major plates.


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