lithosphere


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

lithosphere

(lĭth`əsfēr'), brittle uppermost shell of the earth, broken into a number of tectonic plates. The lithosphere consists of the heavy oceanic and lighter continental crusts, and the uppermost portion of the mantlemantle,
portion of the earth's interior lying beneath the crust and above the core. No direct observation of the mantle, or its upper boundary, has been made; its boundaries have been determined solely by abrupt changes in the velocities and character of seismic waves passing
..... Click the link for more information.
. The crust and mantle are separated by the Moho or Mohorovicic discontinuity (see earthearth,
in geology and astronomy, 3rd planet of the solar system and the 5th largest, the only planet definitely known to support life. Gravitational forces have molded the earth, like all celestial bodies, into a spherical shape.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and seismologyseismology
, scientific study of earthquakes and related phenomena, including the propagation of waves and shocks on or within the earth by natural or artificially generated seismic signals.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The thickness of the lithosphere varies from to around 1 mi (1.6 km) at the mid-ocean ridges to approximately 80 mi (130 km) beneath older oceanic crust. The thickness of the continental lithospheric plates is probably around 185 mi (300 km) but is uncertain due to the irregular presence of the Moho discontinuity. The lithosphere rests on a soft layer called the asthenosphereasthenosphere
, region in the upper mantle of the earth's interior, characterized by low-density, semiplastic (or partially molten) rock material chemically similar to the overlying lithosphere.
..... Click the link for more information.
, over which the plates of the lithosphere glide. See plate tectonicsplate tectonics,
theory that unifies many of the features and characteristics of continental drift and seafloor spreading into a coherent model and has revolutionized geologists' understanding of continents, ocean basins, mountains, and earth history.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

lithosphere

(lÿ -th'o-sfeer) See Earth.

Lithosphere

 

the outer sphere of the “solid” earth, including the earth’s crust and the upper layer of the mantle (substratum). The lower boundary of the lithosphere runs above the asthenosphere. Until the 1960’s “lithosphere” was a synonym for the earth’s crust.

lithosphere

[′lith·ə‚sfir]
(geology)
The rigid outer crust of rock on the earth about 50 miles (80 kilometers) thick, above the asthenosphere. Also known as oxysphere.
Since the development of plate tectonics theory, a term referring to the rigid, upper 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the crust and upper mantle, above the asthenosphere.
References in periodicals archive ?
This influx of heat, in turn, encourages more sliding - a feedback mechanism that propagates through the lithosphere, generating an earthquake.
In particular, she says, the new- work assumes that rock infiltrating from below would make the lithosphere more dense by rearranging atoms such as iron into minerals with less space between the atoms.
The third section includes two papers on kinematic modelling, in which the overall subsidence of basins is calculated from lithosphere stretching, optionally with depth dependence and consequent isostatic/flexural response, and including an interpreted thermal history.
The cross sections through the crust and into the upper mantle that appear to be laid out across the surface of megamullions offer exciting new windows of opportunity finally to sample the oceanic lithosphere in detail.
a thinness of the lithosphere towards the east from the Tasman Line).
During Phases 1 and 2, divergent kinematic velocity boundary conditions initiate continental rifting followed by oceanic spreading and the self- consistent growth of rifted continental margins and oceanic lithosphere.
One simply cannot take standard oceanic lithosphere, make it twice as thick or more, cool it a few hundred degrees, wait a billion or more years and expect it to still be there.
At this meeting, it was shown that modern oceanic lithosphere is very heterogeneous and that stratigraphic successions at slow-spreading ridges are neither simple nor uniform.
1 mi) thick, the lithosphere is somewhat flexible like taffy, yet at the same time strong enough to form semi-rigid tectonic plates.
Our knowledge of the oceanic lithosphere has traditionally been limited to indirect observations, such as bathymetric, gravity, and magnetic maps, or various kinds of seismic experiments made through the vast water column.
Tenders are invited for Tectonics Program supports a broad range of field, laboratory, computational, and theoretical investigations aimed at understanding the deformation of the terrestrial continental lithosphere (i.
Deteriorated relations among lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere (including internal factors of organism evolution itself) accumulated until they exceeded the threshold, and exploded at the Permian-Triassic transition time.