Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Lithosphere'
n : the solid part of the earth consisting of the crust and
outer mantle [syn: geosphere]
- Lithosphere \Lith"o*sphere\, n. [Litho- + sphere.] (Phys. Geog.)
(a) The solid earth as distinguished from its fluid
envelopes, the hydrosphere and atmosphere.
(b) The outer part of the solid earth, the portion undergoing
change through the gradual transfer of material by
volcanic eruption, the circulation of underground water,
and the process of erosion and deposition. It is,
therefore, regarded as a third mobile envelope comparable
with the hydrosphere and atmosphere.
Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Lithosphere'
The lithosphere (pronounced /ˈlɪθəsfɪər/, from the Greek λίθος outermost shell of a rocky planet. It comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.
In the Earth, the lithosphere includes the crust and the uppermost mantle, which constitute the hard and rigid outer layer of the Earth. The lithosphere is underlain by the asthenosphere, the weaker, hotter, and deeper part of the upper mantle. The boundary between the lithosphere and the underlying asthenosphere is defined by a difference in response to stress: the lithosphere remains rigid for very long periods of geologic time in which it deforms elastically and through brittle failure, while the asthenosphere deforms viscously and accommodates strain through plastic deformation. The lithosphere is broken into tectonic plates. The uppermost part of the lithosphere that chemically reacts to the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere through the soil forming process is called the pedosphere.[See more about Lithosphere at Dictionary 3.0 Encyclopedia]