All about the 3 main layers of planet Earth

The solar wind, a continuous stream of charged particles from the Sun’s upper atmosphere, carried away lighter elements like hydrogen and helium. Simply put, the materials left behind after the sun formed began to clump together.

Big bang conceptual image

The heavy, rocky material left behind clumped together to form smaller terrestrial features, such as planets, including Earth. Relatively heavier elements, such as iron and nickel, flowed towards the center of the Earth. At the same time, silicon and oxygen were rising towards the Earth’s surface. However, at this time, the entire Earth remained in a melting state.

Even within this widely accepted idea, scientists are still puzzled as to how the Earth was formed. Yet other questions exist, such as; What is the composition of the Earth? How many layers of the Earth exist? And how are they different? How do they influence events on Earth? Better yet, is there anything else there?

How does seismology reveal the layers of the Earth?

Thanks to developments in seismology, we now know the answers to many questions about the Earth’s interior. Scientists can use their knowledge of sound waves, the same type generated by earthquakes, to examine the nature of the Earth’s layers.

They study the behavior of sound waves as they pass through the different layers of the Earth. This made possible the development of a simple model, like the one below showing the interior of the Earth.

What are the chemical layers of the Earth?

3 Main Layers of Planet Earth: Here's Everything You Need to Know

The structure of the Earth based on chemical differences.

Generally, there are three main layers inside the Earth. These include the crust, the mantle and the core, which itself is divided into two layers – the inner core and the outer core.

These layers not only differ in their compositions and characteristics, but also have distinct effects on the course of events that occur on the Earth’s surface. So without further ado, let’s dive deeper into the mysterious layers beneath us.

What is the earth’s crust made of and how thick is it?

The best part of a pizza is its crust, right? The Earth has a crust, although this one has no cheese, and compared to its other layers, this part is relatively thin. This layer exists in two different forms; continental and oceanic crust.

Continental crust is rich in felsic materials — those containing an element called silica. It is about 20 to 70 kilometers thick. On the other hand, the oceanic crust is made up of mafic materials, that is to say rich in iron and magnesium, and is about 5 to 10 kilometers thick.

Yet one of the most crucial differences between continental and oceanic crusts is their density. Oceanic crust is denser than continental crust. Therefore, when a piece of oceanic crust collides with continental crust, the former slides under the latter in a process called subduction.

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