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Inside the Earth. Review of Density… Density is an expression of the relative heaviness of a substance mass per unit volume grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm 3 ) The density of pure water is 1g/cm 3 . Granite rock is about 2.7 times denser at 2.7g/cm 3 . . Formation of the Earth.

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Review of Density…

  • Density is an expression of the relative heaviness of a substance
    • mass per unit volume
    • grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3)
  • The density of pure water is 1g/cm3.
  • Granite rock is about 2.7 times denser at 2.7g/cm3.
formation of the earth
Formation of the Earth
  • The most dense material (Iron and Nickel) settled to thecore (center)
  • Less dense matter (Silicates) formed the vast interior of the Earth (mantle).
  • The least dense material (Granite and Basalt) formed the Earth’s solid stony crust.
    • Volcanic eruptions continued through the crust.
formation of the earth continued
Formation of the Earth Continued…
  • With each eruption, gases, water vapor, ash andlava (molten material) were brought to the surface.
  • The water vapor and gases formed the atmosphere.
  • As the Earth cooled the water vapor turned to water and the rains started.
  • The oceans formed from runoff. This also supplied the ocean with the mineral content it has today.


  • Formed from molten material including volcanic lava, ash, or bombs as well as magma below Earth’s surface
the crust
Outer layer

5-25 miles thick

Broken into pieces - plates

2 types of crust


moredense – 2.9g/cm3

made of basalt


least dense – 2.8g/cm3

made of granite

The Crust
the mantle
Middle layer

Very thick

Largest layer

Upper Mantle –

“Floats on plastic”

3.3 g/cm3

Plastic Mantle –

3.5 g/cm3

Lower Mantle –

The Mantle
the core
The Core
  • Made mostly of iron
  • 1/3 of the earth’s mass
  • Very hot
  • The most dense
  • Divided into 2:
    • The outer core
      • made up of liquid iron and nickel
      • density of 11.8g/cm3
    • The inner core
      • made up of solidiron and nickel
      • density of 16.0g/cm3
physical structure of the earth the layers
Physical Structure of the Earth(The Layers)
  • Crust (less than 1% of the total volume of the Earth)

Oceanic Crust - Basalt

Continental Crust - Granite

  • Mantle (83% of the total volume of the Earth)
    • Lithosphere
      • rigid upper layer
      • Plate in the “plate tectonic theory”
    • Asthenosphere
      • solid rock that flows slowly (like hot asphalt)
      • “plastic” layer
    • Mesosphere

most dense of the mantle - rigid

thickest layer of the mantle - silicate

  • Core (16% of the total volume of the Earth)
    • Outer Core
      • liquid
    • Inner Core
      • solid, very dense

Subduction Zone

Ocean trench


Solid mantle=


Continental Crust

Oceanic crust

Continental Crust

Solid Mantle

Solid Mantle

Plastic mantle =


Plastic Mantle

Label the following:

-Continental Crust


-Oceanic Crust

-Solid Mantle

-Plastic Mantle

-Original Subduction Zone

-New Subduction Zone

density layering
Density Layering
  • The overall density of the Earth is 5.5g/cm3
  • The crust changes continually to balance the amount of lighter and denser material.
    • Erosion and glacial melting decreases the density of the crust.
    • Volcanic eruption will increase the density.
seismic waves
Seismic waves
  • Evidence of distinct layers in the Earth with different densities comes from the observations of seismic waves (the vibrations generated by earthquakes and explosions)
  • As seismic waves move through the Earth, wave patterns may change indicating the waves were:
    • Reflected: bounced back due to extreme density
    • Refracted: directional change
  • Measuring the changes in the velocity of these waves as they travel through the Earth provides information on the number of layers and the thickness and composition of the layers.