What are the 6 Layers of the Earth?

What are the Characteristics of Earth? How did the Layers of the Earth form? What are Tectonic Plates?
6 layers of the earth: what makes up the lithosphere 1

Earth looks like a marble from the outside, but it is made up of different layers which are responsible for the existence of life on it. The layers of earth are complex and have been studied for a long time. In this article, we have provided a detailed description of the 6 layers of the earth along with a crust mantle core diagram. To learn about the thickest layer of the earth and which of earth’s layers is a liquid continue reading this article.

1. What are the Characteristics of Planet Earth?

It is the third planet from the sun in our solar system and possibly the only one where life exists. Some of the characteristics are given below.

  • It is made up of 71% of water and the other 29% constitutes islands and continents. The earth has several layers that comprise its atmosphere and similarly, its surface is filled up with several layers of soil and other materials.
  • The earth is roughly spherical but slightly flattened towards the poles. The several layers of the earth might be the reason behind the bulge near the equator. The shape of the earth is described as an oblate spheroid by scientists. (See Who Named Our Planet Earth?)
  • The weight of the earth is 5,976 Yottagram (5.97×10 to the power of 24 kg). Earth’s gravitational force is stronger than other planets because of the high presence of iron content which is up to 32.1%. Other chemicals include aluminum (1.4%), calcium (1.5%), nickel (1.8%), sulfur (2.9%), magnesium (13.9%), silicon (15.1%) and oxygen (30.1%). (See How Hot is the Sun?)

2. How did the Layers of the Earth Form?

A disastrous volcanic eruption: 6 layers of the earth 1

Volcanic activities were responsible for the formation of mountains, oceans, and other landforms of the earth. Such processes are known as geological processes. Slowly, after this process, the magnetic field of the earth was formed which was crucial in keeping the atmosphere intact.

After the volcanic eruptions, the lava took years to cool down. Once it cooled down, it formed the first solid layer of the earth known as the Crust. It was mainly composed of igneous rocks because the mafic crust was partially melted during the process of formation. The next segment will discuss the 6 layers of the earth. (See How Hot is Lava in Fahrenheit?)

3. How are the Internal Layers of the Earth Divided?

The internal layers are divided based on their physical and chemical properties. The layers are broadly classified as the core, mantle, and crust. The core is further divided into an outer and inner core. (See What is the Vernal Equinox?)

Three centuries ago, Isaac Newton discovered and learned about the core and mantle by calculating the magnetic field, gravitational force, and the total density of the Earth. Starting from the center, here is how the layers are divided:

  • The inner core (1 layer)
  • Outer core (1 layer)
  • Mantle (4 layers)

Above the 4 layers of the mantle, the layer of the upper mantle that includes the oceans and mountains is present. This layer is known as the Lithosphere. (See What is the Color of Each Planet?)

4. Can you Draw the Crust Mantle Core Diagram?

6 layers of the earth 2

The crust-mantle core diagram given above shows the different layers of the earth.

  • The innermost glowing part which looks like a mini sun is the inner core.
  • The light orange portion is the outer core of our Earth.
  • The dark orange portion along with the blue outer layer is the Crust. (See Why Ice floats on Water?)

5. What are the 6 Layers of the Earth?

Here is a thorough breakdown of each of the 6 layers of the earth that make up the planet.

The labelled diagram of earth's layers.

  • Inner Core: This is the innermost layer of the earth located around 6400 km to 5180 km (4000 miles to 3220 miles) under the surface of the earth. It is a densely packed ball with metals like iron and nickel. It has a radius of 1220 km (758 miles). The temperature of this layer is 5400 degrees Celsius (9800 degrees Fahrenheit) which is almost the same as that of the sun. It rotates faster than the earth which results in this intense temperature. (See: What Is Earth’s Core Made Of?)
  • Outer Core: This layer is just above the inner core and is composed of liquid iron and nickel. It can be found in the range of 5,180 to 2,880 kilometers below the surface of the earth. It generates electric current because of the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. As this decay is in liquid form, it causes heat and explosive currents in this layer. These activities generate the magnetic field of the earth. 
  • Mantle:  This layer starts from 30 km (18.6 miles) below the surface of the earth. The circulation speed of the mantle is slow. It is dense and hot but with a semi-solid texture. 
  • Asthenosphere (Mantle below 100 km): This layer of the mantle is present between 100 km to 200 km below the surface. It is composed of partially melted rocks that are melted due to high temperatures. According to geologists, tectonic plates ride on the slippery and hot material of this layer to slide across. 
  • A layer of diamonds: Diamonds are generally found around 200 km (124 miles) below the surface of the earth. But, according to geologists, these diamonds are formed deep inside the mantle at almost 700 km (435 miles) under the surface of the earth. These rare diamonds are brought to the surface in the form of kimberlite, a type of volcanic rock. 
  • The outermost layer of the Mantle: The outermost or the uppermost layer of the mantle has low temperatures. It is moderately cold and firm, similar to the crust above it. This layer is the base of all the landforms like mountains, plateaus, islands, etc. You are now aware of the 6 layers of the earth. (See Where is Obsidian Found?)

6. Which of Earth’s Layers is a Liquid?

So among the 6 layers of the earth, it is the outer core that has largely liquid iron lying below the mantle. According to geologists, the outer core is liquid because of the seismic surveys of the Earth’s interior. It can be found 3,220 to 1,790 miles below the surface of the earth. So the answer to which of the earth’s layers is a liquid is the outer core. (See Why do people live near Volcanoes?)

7. Why Mantle is the Thickest Layer of the Earth?

It consists of numerous layers making it the thickest layer on earth. The mantle layer is almost 3000 km (1865 miles) thick made mostly of iron, magnesium, and silicon, giving it a solid texture. (See What is Metal Made of?

8. What are the Characteristics of the Crust?

It is the top layer of the earth and is measured from the surface you walk on to the depth of 100 km below the surface. Its thickness varies according to the surface. Under the oceans, the crust can be only 5 km (3.1 miles) thick while under the continents it is in the range of 30 to 70 km (18.6 to 43.5 miles).

The crust is composed of the uppermost layer of the mantle and the surface of the earth. Geologists call this layer the lithosphere and it consists of oxygen, aluminum, silica, and other light elements. (See How to Achieve Zero Gravity?)

9. What are Tectonic Plates?

Tectonic Plates

The crust and Asthenosphere are broken into gigantic pieces of rocks similar to the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. These pieces are known as tectonic plates. They slide over the liquid part of the Asthenosphere and move 1.2 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) per year. These plates can cross or intersect each other. They can also slide past each other or pull apart from each other. All these movements are responsible for volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. (See What does it feel like to be in outer space?)

Now you know about the 6 layers of the earth in great detail. You also learned which is the thickest layer of the earth and which of earth’s layers is a liquid. The crust mantle core diagram can help you visualize different layers of the earth in a simple manner towards the end. (See Why are Dimes Smaller than Pennies?)

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