Part 1:  Earth's Interior

Earth is a unique planet.  It is also a system in which the amount of matter is relatively constant, but through which energy flows.  Earth's four spheres, which include its bodies of water, its land, its atmosphere, and its living organisms, all interact.  The transfer of energy and matter on Earth takes place through complex cycles. 

We will concentrate today on the geosphere.  Earth is many thousand kilometers in depth. If you could travel deep into the earth's surface you would find that it contains three main layers; the crust, mantle and core. To learn more about the layers of Earth, click the following links and answer the questions that follow.

Go to The Earth's Interior

Click on the Volcano World link.  After reading each slide click the "next" button and proceed to read the next slide. When you have examined all of the slides, complete the questions on the "questions" slide. These questions are also below.


Part 2:  Convection Currents and the Mantle

Heat transfer is the movement of heat from a warmer object to a cooler object. There are three ways in which heat can be transferred; conduction, convection and/or radiation. Click on the links below and answer the questions that follow.

Convection, Conduction and Radiation & Heat Transfer

Test your knowledge! Scroll back to the top of the Heat Transfer Web page and take the "Mini Quiz".

As you already know, the earth's mantle contains two layers; the stratosphere (tough liquid part of the outer mantle) and the lithosphere (the stiffer outer mantle and the crust). Because of the intense pressure and temperature in the mantle convection currents occur. To learn about what influence these convection currents have on Earth, read the Web page below and answer the questions that follow.

The Mantle


Part 3:  Drifting Continents

The theory of continental drift originated from a German scientist named Alfred Wegener who proposed that there was once a super continent called Pangaea ("all lands"). Wegener proposed that over time the continents drifted apart. Read through the following links to learn about Wegener's theory of continental drift.

Continental Drift


More Pangaea info

Still more Pangaea info 


Part 4: Sea-Floor Spreading

The movement of plates caused by convection currents causes both constructive and destructive forces beneath the ocean floor. To learn more about this topic click on the link below and answer the questions that follow.

Sea-Floor Spreading

Magnetic Symmetry

More Magnetic Symmetry 


Part 5: The Theory of Plate Tectonics

The theory of plate tectonics was formulated in the 1960s and 1970s when new information was discovered about the inside of Earth. To learn more, click on the links below, read the Web page and answer the questions that follow.

Plate Tectonics

Convergent Boundaries

Divergent Boundaries

Transform Boundaries


Part 6:  Deformation of the Crust

The Himalayas, the Rockies, and the Andes are some of Earth's most majestic mountain ranges.  Mountain ranges are visible reminders that the shape of Earth's surface changes constantly.  These changes result from deformation, or the bending, tilting, and breaking of Earth's crust.  To learn more, click on the links below, read the Web page and answer the questions that follow.

How Rock Deforms

More on Deformation of Rock

How Mountains Form

Types of Mountains

 Web Resources

The Earth's Interior

Volcano World

The Mantle

Convection, Conduction and Radiation


Heat Transfer

Convection Currents: Currents in the Earth's System

Plate Tectonics

Earth's Continental Plates -