Earth Sciences

Earth’s crust

Earth's crust is an important layer which is extremely thin which is composed of rocks which form the outermost layer of our planet. It is equivalent to less than half of 1 percent of the planet's total mass, but it plays a vital role in most of the natural cycles that occur throughout the Earth. The Earth's crust is made up of different layers, each made up of different elements and their plates are constantly floating on different materials.

Earth crust

Related topics

Geosphere, tectonic plates

What is the Earth's crust?

The Earth's crust is one of the most important and most external layers of the earth which is composed mainly of rocks, with different thicknesses, the crust is formed by several different layers all in density and materials that make them up.

Characteristics of Earth’s crust

The main characteristics of Earth’s crust are as follows:

Formation of the Earth’s crust

The earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago and when surface cooling began, its crust, mantle and core also began to differentiate. The silicates that had a lighter composition went up creating the mantle and the crust, and the heavier ones sank giving form to the nucleus. The gases emanating from the volcanic eruptions formed the atmosphere. For this reason, it is estimated that the Earth’s crust was formed approximately 2.5 million years ago, or earlier.

Types

Layers

There are three types of layers that make up the Earth’s crust, which are:

Movements of the Earth’s crust

There are two types of crust movements, orogenic and epirogenic. The orogenic movements are movements of vertical type and are faster, producing folds (responsible for the formation of mountain ranges), and faults, which are fractures of the cortex that occur when the strata do not withstand the pressures, these faults can be vertical, horizontal or normal and cause earthquakes.

Depth

The Earth’s crust radius is 6,378 kilometers in part of Equator and the variation between the highest continental height and the deepest sea does not exceed 20 kilometers. The distance from sea level to the rigid mantle or crust is approximately 35 kilometers.

Chemical components and elements

The most important components found in the Earth’s crust are: oxygen, silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium and magnesium. The chemical elements can be found in their natural state such as gold and Sulphur, they can be composed of different materials and they can also be composed of lead and copper combined with other materials. There are oxides, halides, nitrates, phosphates and carbonates.

Minerals

In addition to the chemical elements, we can find silicate minerals such as quartz and feldspar.

Phenomena of the Earth’s crust

Some of the phenomena that occur in the Earth’s crust are the following:

Importance of the Earth’s crust

The main importance of the Earth’s crust is that on it is where life takes place and develops. Different natural processes are carried out in the cortex and living beings, both plants and animals, can have a suitable place for life. It is the place where plants grow, food is cultivated and living things evolve.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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