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The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.

Exploratour - The Surface of the Earth

This drawing represents the ocean crust being subducted beneath the continental crust.
Click on image for full size

Types of Crust

The layer immediately under the Earth's crust is called the lithosphere. The lithosphere is more capable of plastic deformation than the crust, and is warmer than the crust, but is still colder and more dense than the layer immediately below it, which is known as the asthenosphere. This picture to the left shows both ocean crust and continental crust.

The asthenosphere is a transitional region between the lithosphere and the upper mantle of the Earth. The asthenosphere does not have the properties of the mantle, but the lithosphere bends and descends into the asthenosphere under the forces which cause subduction. This implies that the lithosphere and crust can operate as a unit while the asthenosphere is a separate region altogether.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects radiate in the infrared. The warmer the object, the higher the frequency and intensity of the radiation. Very hot objects give off other types of radiation in addition to infrared. Click...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

The awesome power of a giant black hole was revealed by looking at this galaxy in three different types of light. The picture that you see is of Centaurus A, a very peculiar galaxy. A galaxy is just a...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF