What Percent of the Earth is Covered by the Lithosphere?

All ocean and continental earthquakes happen in the lithosphere.
••• Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

You feel the earth unsteady beneath your feet, shifting and shaking. It is an earthquake! That is what happens when rocks in the lithosphere have been stressed too much and break. The lithosphere is the rocky layer that covers the entire earth, both continents and oceans. It has two parts: the crust and the upper mantle.

Top Layer

The crust varies in thickness. Under the oceans it is only 3 to 5 miles deep, but the continental crust extends about 25 miles. At the surface the crust is air temperature, but at its deepest parts it can reach 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common elements in the rocky layer are oxygen, silicon and aluminum.


Below the crust, the top layer of the upper mantle is also part of the lithosphere. With the crust and mantle section combined, the lithosphere is about 50 feet deep. In addition to oxygen and silicon, the upper mantle also contains significant amounts of iron and magnesium. This part of the lithosphere is denser than the crust.

Related Articles

What Best Describes the Relationship Between Earth's...
What Are the 3 Parts of the Biosphere?
What Is the Difference Between the Crust & the Lithosphere?
Which Layer of the Earth's Crust Contains the Highest...
What Best Describes the Relationship Between Earth's...
What Are the 3 Parts of the Biosphere?
10 Facts About Plate Tectonics
Cross Section of the Earth's Atmosphere
What Four Elements Make Up Almost 90% of the Earth?
What Are the Elements of Uranus?
What Elements Make Up the Air We Breathe?
How High Does the Atmosphere Extend From Earth?
What Are the Compositional & Structural Layers of the...
As You Go Deeper Into the Earth What Happens to the...
What Is the Zone Between the Earth's Core & Crust?
In Which Layers of the Earth's Atmosphere Does the...
What Are Interesting Facts About the Marine Biome?
About Minor & Major Landforms
Difference Between Continental & Oceanic Plates

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!