Karner, Garry D. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Oceanic lithosphere
- Continental lithosphere
- Other definitions
- Lithosphere interrelationships
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The rigid or mechanically strong outer layer of the Earth that can support stress. The lithosphere is divided into 12 major plates, the boundaries of which are zones of intense activity that produce many of the large-scale geological features that characterize the Earth. These plates move as coherent units with velocities of up to several centimeters per year, and their relative movement and interaction form the foundation for the theory of plate tectonics.
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