Mantle model

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Model of mantle convection in the Hall of Planet Earth AMNH/D. Finnin

This globe is a snapshot of mantle convection—a process that occurs slowly, over millions of years. The hottest, least dense parts of the mantle (yellow) are rising toward the surface, while cooler, denser parts (red) are sinking toward the core. Convection in the mantle drives movement of tectonic plates at the surface. By studying the movement of these plates, scientists have determined which parts of the mantle have the most extreme temperature differences.