Characteristics of the Lithosphere and Asthenosphere
The terms lithosphere and asthenosphere are often used in plate tectonics. In the theory of
plate tectonics, the earth is divided into layers, see Layers of the Earth.
Below is a diagram showing both Lithosphere and Asthenosphere and information about the characteristics of the
lithosphere and asthenosphere to compare lithosphere and asthenosphere. The differences between
the lithosphere and the asthenosphere are largely based on the rigidity and differences in temperatures.
What is the Lithosphere?
Lithosphere is the outermost layer of the earth's crust. Lithosphere is the only part of the
earth that is accessible to us. Lithosphere is cold, solid and rigid whereas as Asthenosphere is
partially molten. The lithosphere is broken up into large solid plates called tectonic plates. These tectonic
plates move around which are the basis of plate tectonics.
How many miles deep is the lithosphere?
The lithosphere is about 40 - 250 miles deep or 60 - 400 kilometers deep.
What is the asthenosphere and where is the asthenosphere is located?
The asthenosphere is the part of the earth just below the lithosphere, as seen on the diagram of
the Lithosphere and Asthenosphere above. The asthenosphere is white hot and can be deformed. The asthenosphere is
not liquid but there is a small amount of melted rock there. The asthenosphere is more solid than liquid.
How thick is the asthenosphere?
The asthenosphere is about 400 - 700 kilometers deep or 250 - 435 miles thick.