Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
This diagram shows the different layers found inside the Earth.
Click on image for full size
Windows Original.

Structure of the Interior of Earth

The Earth's interior is made of rock and metal. It has four main layers:
1) the inner core: a solid metal core
2) the outer core: a liquid molten core
3) the mantle: dense and mostly solid rock
4) the crust: thin rock material

The temperature in the core is hotter than the Sun's surface. The heat causes stuff in the outer core and mantle layers to move around deep inside the Earth.

The movement of material deep within the Earth may cause large plates made of the crust and upper mantle to move slowly over the Earthís surface. It is also possible that the movements generate the Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere.

Last modified January 18, 2010 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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

The Earth as a Magnet

The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The magnetic field of the Earth is surrounded by the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere keeps most of the particles from the sun, carried in solar...more

How Do Plates Move?

Plates at our planetís surface move because heat in the Earthís core causes molten rock in the mantle layer to flow. We used to think the Earthís plates just surfed on top of the moving mantle, but now...more

Charged Particle Motion in Earth's Magnetosphere

Motions within Earth's metallic core generate the planet's global magnetic field. This magnetic field extends beyond Earth's surface and atmosphere into the space surrounding our home planet. The interaction...more

Earth's Magnetic Poles

Earth has a magnetic field. If you imagine a gigantic bar magnet inside of Earth, you'll have a pretty good idea what Earth's magnetic field is shaped like. Of course, Earth DOESN'T have a giant bar magnet...more

Earth's Crust Melts Easier Than Thought

In places where continents are slowly smashing into each other and mountains are growing, could it get hot enough in the Earthís crust for rocks to melt? A team of scientists looked at this question. They...more

The Magnetic Poles of Mercury

Mercury has a magnetic field. Its field is weak. Earth's magnetic field is tilted. So is Mercury's. That means Mercury's magnetic poles are not in the same place as its geographic poles. Mercury has a...more

Oldest Earth Mantle Reservoir Discovered

The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA