UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What is the difference between the lithosphere and the asthenosphere?
Question Date: 2014-04-04
Answer 1:

The lithosphere is the outermost layer of the earth. It is solid and relatively rigid, and is composed of the crust and upper-most solid part of the mantle. Below the lithosphere lies the asthenosphere, which is hotter and is comprised of very viscous, ductile material.

Answer 2:

The asthenosphere is plastic and flows, bring the heat from the Earth's core to the surface where it can escape. The lithosphere is more rigid and merely floats like an icy crust on top of the asthenosphere. Both are technically solid rock - the flowing of the asthenosphere takes place over such long time scales that even solid rocks can behave like fluids.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use