LAUNCHPAD

Plate tectonics: Earth geological and climatic history

rom the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain, plate tectonics explains the features and movement of Earth’s surface in the present and the past.

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to¬†Earth’s mantle.

This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere, which is 100 km (60 miles) thick, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The lithosphere includes the crust and outer part of the mantle. Below the lithosphere is the asthenosphere, which is malleable or partially malleable, allowing the lithosphere to move around. How it moves around is an evolving idea.