The churning Earth

  • Exhibition Text

    • The mantle is mostly solid rock, but because it is hot, it flows in slow, circulating patterns. Hotter, less dense rock rises and cooler, more dense rock sinks. This process, known as convection, is the force that powers plate tectonics-the movement of plates over the Earth’s surface. This image is a vertical cross section through the mantle showing hotter (reds) and cooler (blues) regions. These variations in temperature are modeled from changes in the velocity of earthquake-generated seismic waves passing through the mantle.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earth Structure

      Keywords: Geology, Stratigraphic, Heat--Convection, Plate tectonics, Earth (Planet)--Mantle

      Audience: General

In This Section

The core

The core

At the center of the Earth is the dense, hot core.