• Question: How does the inside of the Earth work?

    Asked by Andrea Echeverria to LauraAnne, Katy, Helen on 17 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: LauraAnne Furlong

      LauraAnne Furlong answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      I think the last time I looked at this was when I was about 16 in geography! There are physicists who specialise in this area called geophysicists, who could tell you much more than I could ever do, but basically the earth is made of layers of shells, like an onion. Each layer has different chemical and material properties, so for example the centre is made up of a solid dense core which has a fluid core as the next layer above it. The next layer out called the mantle is made of solid rock which is still able to change shape, and above the mantle is the crust which we live on which as we know from the news, is made up of lots of different plates which are constantly moving. These plate movements can lead to earthquakes happening. This link has some videos and text which explain it nicely:


    • Photo: Katy Griggs

      Katy Griggs answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      This isn’t really my area of expertise but as Laura Anne has explained the Earth is made up of many layers. The central inner core is solid and made up of iron and nickel with temperatures of up to 5,500°C,which is very hot!!The fluid outer core is similar to the inner core in material composition and temperature. The next layer is called mantle, made up of semi-molten rock called magma and has a thickness of approximately 2,900 km, making it the widest section of the Earth. The top layer is the outer layer of the earth upon which we live called the crust, which is a thin layer between 0-60 km thick. There are two different types of crust: continental crust, which carries land, and oceanic crust, which carries water.