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Continental crust, the outermost great of earth’s lithosphere that renders up the planet’s continents and continental shelves and is formed near subduction zones at key boundaries between continental and also oceanic tectonic plates. The continental crust creates nearly every one of Earth’s floor surface.

Composition

Continental tardy is broadly granitic in ingredient and, through a density of about 2.7 grams per cubic cm, is rather lighter 보다 oceanic crust, i m sorry is basaltic (i.e., richer in iron and magnesium than granite) in composition and has a thickness of about 2.9 come 3 grams per cubic cm. Continent crust is typically 40 kilometres (25 miles) thick, when oceanic late is much thinner, averaging about 6 kilometres (4 miles) in thickness.

The effect of the different densities the lithospheric rock have the right to be checked out in the different average elevations the continental and oceanic crust. The less-dense continent crust has higher buoyancy, bring about it to float much higher in the mantle. Its typical elevation above sea level is 840 metres (2,750 feet), if the mean depth that oceanic crust is 3,790 metres (12,400 feet). This density difference create two major levels of earth surface.

Formation

Continental tardy is developed primarily in ~ subduction zones. Lateral development occurs by the addition of absent scraped turn off the top of oceanic plates as they subduct beneath continental margins (the submarine leaf of the continental crust). These margins are marked by currently of volcanoes, frequently in volcanic arcs, that form additions come the crust. Subduction zones located within ocean basins (where one oceanic key descends in ~ another) also generate volcano arcs called island arcs. Island arcs are comprised of materials that range between oceanic and also continental crust in both thickness and composition. The very first continents appear to have created by accretion of assorted island arcs.


There is also evidence that continental crust is created through an accretionary process known together relamination. As an oceanic plate subducts underneath a continental plate, it pulls s floor sediment, magma, and larger concentrations of rock together with it. As pressure and also temperature rise with depth, the rocks melt, and denser material within the descending oceanic plate proceeds to sink bottom while less-concentrated silica-rich material creates granulites that adhere to the bottom that the continent plate and include to that mass.

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The editor of Encyclopaedia lifwynnfoundation.org This write-up was many recently revised and updated by john P. Rafferty, Editor.