Circulating Heat

  • Exhibition Text

    • Deep beneath our feet is a 2,900-kilometer-thick (1,800-mile) layer of mostly solid rock called the mantle. The mantle flows slowly due to convection. In convection, hotter rocks, which have relatively low densities, rise, while cooler rocks with higher densities sink. In this globe, the hottest portions of the mantle (yellow) are rising toward the surface and cooler portions (red) are sinking toward the core.

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How to read the mantle

How to read the mantle

The globe in the center shows present-day mantle convection based on studies of how tectonic plates have moved over the last 200 million years. 

Mantle model

Mantle model

This globe is a snapshot of mantle convection—a process that occurs slowly, over millions of years.