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The Earth has several layers.
No feature on Earth is permanent.
The Core
Inside layer of Earth
Made of nickel and iron
Has a liquid outer layer that surrounds the solid
inner part.
Decay of radioactive elements in the core send heat
through the other layers of the Earth.
Middle layer of Earth
Reaches almost to the Earth’s surface.
Rocks in this layer move because of heat from
the core.
Outer layer of Earth
Made of the lightest materials
Only about 40 km (about 20 miles) thick.
The lithosphere is the rigid outer shell of the
Earth that consists of the crust and part of the
The constant movement of the oceans cause
constant change in the Earth’s surface.
The continents of Earth look as if they could fit
together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
A German scientist named Alfred Wegener
came up with the Continental Drift Theory.
This theory says that all the continents used to
be together, but drifted apart over millions of
The lithosphere is broken into sections called
plates. When these plates move, they cause
changes in the Earth’s surface, like volcanic
eruptions, earthquakes, and creation and
destruction of mountains. These plates collide,
pull apart, or slide past each other very slowly.
This is constantly happening.
Scientists believe
that the continents
of Earth were once
all connected in a
called Pangaea. The
continents actually
appear to fit
together like the
pieces of a puzzle.
Over time,
the plates
have moved
apart to form
the Earth we
live on today.