The interior of the Earth is one hot place. In fact, some of it is liquid rock or metal. The crust, though, is made of rock that has cooled to a hard outer skin. The continental crust is the crust covered by land. This crust is light in color and is made mostly of granite. Above the granite is sedimentary rock, which is made of bits of crushed rock and the remains of dead animals and plants.
Beneath the ocean lies the oceanic crust. This crust is made of basalt lava flows, which have erupted from volcanoes over millions of years. This crust covers more than two-thirds of the Earth. It is very dark or black and very heavy.
Fun Facts about Earth’s Crust for Kids
- The crust is deepest in areas with mountains. Here, it can be 43 miles thick.
- Both the continental and the oceanic crusts are bonded to the mantle to form a layer known as the lithosphere. This layer is cool and solid. Below the lithosphere is a hotter portion of the mantle that is always moving. It is this movement that splits the lithosphere, causing volcanoes and earthquakes.
- Have you ever wondered why the ocean floors are so much deeper than the land? The continents are thicker and lighter. They float on top of the mantle, sort of like chunks of ice floating on a lake.
Earth’s Crust Vocabulary
- Liquid: a fluid, such as water or milk
- Continental: land
- Oceanic: relating to the ocean
- Sedimentary: made of bits of materials, or sediment
- Lithosphere: the area where the crust meets the mantle
All about Earth’s Crust Video for Kids
This is the best video we found for kids to learn all about Earth’s crust:
Bill Nye the Science Guy discusses about the Earth’s crust.
Earth’s Crust Q&A
Question: How do scientists know about the layers of the crust?
Answer: Scientists study the rocks that are visible on the surface of the land and the ocean. They also drill into the rocks to learn more about the crust. The Kola Superdeep Borehole Project in Russia drilled 7.5 miles into the Earth’s crust.