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the thin and solid outermost layer of the Earth above the mantle


The layer of hot, solid material between Earth's crust and core.


the central part of the Earth below the mantle


the solid, outer layer of the earth that consists of the crust and the rigid upper part of the mantle


The solid, plastic layer of the mantle beneath the lithosphere; made of mantle rock that flows very slowly


The strong lower part of the Mantle between the Asthenosphere and the outer core


lower boundary of the crust


set of components or parts that function together to act as a whole.


crack in the center of a ridge

open system

a system that can exchange both matter and energy with its surroundings

closed system

A system that allows the exchange of energy, but not matter, between the system and its surroundings.

continental drift

the hypothesis that states that the continents once formed a single landmass, broke up, and drifted to their present locations

mid-ocean ridge

underwater mountain range formed when two plates pull apart

sea-floor spreading

The process that creates new sea floor as plates move away from each other at the mid-ocean ridges


The study of the alignment of magnetic minerals in rock,that relates to the reversal of Earth's magnetic poles; also the magnetic properties that rock gets during formation

normal polarity

all rocks with a magnetic field point north

reversed polarity

all rocks with magnetic fields that point south

geomagnetic reversal time line

shows the pattern of normal and reversed polarity in rocks

plate tectonics

the theory that explains how large pieces of the lithosphere, called plates, move and change shape

divergent boundary

the boundary between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other

convergent boundary

the boundary between two colliding tectonic plates

transform boundary

the boundary between tectonic plates that are sliding past each other horizontally

fracture zone

short segments of a mid-ocean ridge that are connected by transform boundaries.

convection cell

an area created when cooler, denser material sinks and the warmer material rises to the surface

ridge push

the process in which new material at a ridge or rift pushes older material aside, moving the tectonic plates away from the ridge

slab pull

occurs when enough of plate subducts at a convergent boundary that gravity can pull the rest of the plate under

hot spots

areas of volcanic activities that result from plumes of hot solid material that have risen from deep inside earths mantle

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