Inside the Earth

Term Definition
Crust The outermost layer of the Earth.
Mantle The layer of the Earth between the crust and the core.
Core The layer of the Earth that extends from below the mantle to the center of the Earth.
Lithosphere The solid, outer layer of the Earth that consists of the mantle.
Asthenosphere The soft layer of the mantle on which the tectonic plates move.
Mesosphere The strong, lower part of the mantle between the asthenosphere and the outer core.
Tectonic Plate A block of lithosphere that consists of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle.
Continental Drift The hypothesis that states the continents once formed a single landmass, broke up, and drifted to their present locations.
Sea-Floor Spreading The process by which new oceanic lithosphere forms as magma rises toward the surface and solidifies.
Plate tectonics The theory that explains how large pieces of the Eartha??s outermost layer, called tectonic plates, move and change shape.
Convergent boundary The boundary formed by the collision of two lithospheric plates.
Divergent boundary The boundary between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other.
Transform boundary The boundary between tectonic plates that are sliding past each other horizontally.
Compression Stress that occurs when forces act to squeeze an object.
Tension Stress that occurs when forces act to stretch an object.
Folding The bending of rock layers due to stress.
Fault A break in a body of rock along which one block slides relative to another.
Uplift The rising of regions of the Eartha??s crust to higher elevations.
Subsidence The sinking of regions of the Eartha??s crust to lower elevations.

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