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Rocks From the Continental Crust

Rocks from the continental crust

Rocks from the continental crust

  • Exhibition Text

    • Continental crust is significantly thicker than oceanic crust. It stands higher and penetrates deeper into the mantle than its oceanic counterpart. The upper continental crust is exposed at many places, and its composition is well known. The lower continental crust is not exposed; geologists learn about it by studying how shock waves from earthquakes and man-made explosions pass through it, and by examining the rare fragments carried to the surface by erupting lavas. 

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Sciences

      Subtopic: Earth Structure

      Keywords: Continental crust, Earth (Planet)--Crust, Earthquakes, Geology, Rocks

      Audience: General

In This Section

Shale

Shale

Sedimentary rocks form a thin veneer over much of the crust.

Granodiorite

Granodiorite

The upper crust is made of low-density granitic rocks.

Gneiss

Gneiss

Dense metamorphic rocks, such as granulite and gneiss, make up most of the lower crust.

Eclogite

Eclogite

This rare sample, also from the deep crust, contains tiny red garnets and dark green pyroxene that formed at 50 to 60 kilometers below the surface, at 600 degrees Centigrade.

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