The Earth’s Layers

Earth Science Facts for Kids All About Earth's Layers - Image of the Earth's Layers
Earth Science Facts for Kids All About Earth's Layers - Image of the Earth's Layers

The Earth is composed of several layers, including the crust, mantle, and core. The crust is the outermost layer and is made up of solid rock. Beneath the crust is the mantle, which is mostly solid but can flow slowly over long periods of time. At the center of the Earth is the core, which is divided into the outer core and the inner core. The outer core is liquid, while the inner core is solid. These layers play a crucial role in shaping the Earth’s structure and geological processes.

Earths Layers Facts For Kids

  • Earth has four main layers.
  • The crust is the outermost layer.
  • The mantle is the thickest layer.
  • The core is in the center, it’s hottest.
  • The outer core is liquid, inner core is solid.
  • We live on the crust.
  • Volcanoes bring mantle material to the surface.
  • Earthquakes show us how layers interact.
  • The mantle is mostly solid rock.
  • The core is mostly iron and nickel.

Plate Tectonics

Our planet Earth resembles a gigantic multi-layered sandwich, with each layer possessing unique characteristics. These layers, known as the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core, have distinct roles to play. We inhabit the crust, a layer that is divided into a multitude of plate-like structures about 100 kilometers thick, which are not stationary.

They move slowly, at a pace of around 2-10 centimeters annually, due to the heat and pressure in the mantle layer that triggers the mobility of the molten rock in a circular motion. This phenomenon, referred to as Plate Tectonics, is responsible for various natural occurrences on the Earth, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even the formation of mountain ranges.

Crust (Geology)

Residing on the Earth’s outermost layer, aptly compared to the skin of an apple, we encounter two distinct types of crust: oceanic and continental. The oceanic crust, thinner and denser, measures between 3 to 5 miles in thickness, whereas the continental crust, while less dense, boasts a thickness range of 20 to 30 miles.

Despite constituting less than 1% of Earth’s overall volume, the crust is home to all our natural habitats, including mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. This layer also harbors the majority of Earth’s minerals and rocks.

So, whether you’re engaging in simple pastimes like playing in the dirt or embarking on an adventurous mountain climb, bear in mind that you’re navigating through the fascinating expanse of the Earth’s crust!

Mantle (Earth’s layer)

The Earth’s mantle, a fascinating and substantial layer of our planet, constitutes approximately 84% of its volume and extends up to 1,800 miles deep beneath the crust. Its composition of solid rock, significantly affected by intense heat and pressure, often behaves like a thick, slow-moving liquid.

This layer is split into two primary sections: the upper and lower mantle. The ‘asthenosphere’, a soft and partially melted section within the upper mantle, serves as a floating platform for tectonic plates that form the Earth’s crust. Therefore, the Earth’s mantle is typically responsible for the seismic activity we experience as earthquakes.

Core (Earth’s layer)

The Earth’s core, the most intriguing and innermost layer of our planet, is divided into two primary sections – the outer and inner core. The outer core, bordering the mantle and approximately 2200 kilometers (1367 miles) thick, is primarily composed of liquid iron and nickel.

Contrarily, the inner core, around 1250 kilometers (777 miles) thick, is predominantly solid iron due to the extreme pressure at the planet’s heart that forces the iron into a solid state. Despite the intense heat exceeding 5000 degrees Celsius (9000 degrees Fahrenheit) – hotter than the Sun’s surface – the extreme pressure maintains the iron in a solid state. Equated to the planet’s engine, the Earth’s core generates a magnetic field that shields us from detrimental solar radiation.


The Earth’s composition consists of a series of layers, all of which possess unique characteristics and roles, and are integral to the creation of volcanoes. The crust, our habitation layer, is the outermost layer, and underneath it lies the mantle, a vast layer of semi-solid, heated rock.

This rock, due to intense heat and pressure within the core of the Earth’s mantle, transforms into a liquid known as magma. Occasionally, this magma ascends through fissures in the Earth’s crust, triggering a volcanic eruption. Therefore, the multiple layers of the Earth are indispensable for the existence of volcanoes.


The Earth, akin to a large sandwich, is composed of several distinct layers; the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. Discussions around earthquakes predominantly relate to the Earth’s crust, the layer on which we reside – comparable in its relative thinness to a sandwich’s bread. Notably, the crust is not a solid entity but consists of multiple tectonic plates, akin to fragmented pieces.

These plates are situated atop a semi-fluid mantle layer and their interactions, such as collisions or sliding movements, can trigger ground tremors, experienced as earthquakes. Despite the fear they incite, earthquakes are intrinsic to the planet’s functioning, playing a crucial role in molding Earth’s landscapes.

Seismic Waves

Seismic waves, waves of energy usually triggered by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or large explosions, provide a critical tool for studying the Earth’s layers structure. As these waves traverse through the different layers of the Earth, they exhibit varying behaviors. For example, seismic waves travel faster through solid rock, but their speed decreases or they may even halt when they encounter liquid, such as the Earth’s outer core.

It is through these observable differences in the behavior of seismic waves that scientists have been able to unravel the mystery of the Earth’s inner structure. Therefore, seismic waves play a significant role in enhancing our understanding of the composition of our planet’s layers.

Continental Drift

The Earth, a complex entity composed of various layers each crucial to sustaining life, is intricately linked to the phenomenon of Continental Drift, a theory postulated by the scientist Alfred Wegener. This theory delves into the Earth’s outermost layer, the lithosphere, which is fragmented into numerous sizable and smaller segments known as tectonic plates.

Comprising the crust and the upper mantle, these plates are in a state of perpetual motion, albeit imperceptible to us. Over millions of years, this slow and constant motion has caused the continents to shift positions, a process known as Continental Drift. Therefore, when observing a world map, it’s intriguing to consider that our continents have not always been in their current locations!


The lithosphere, a critical layer of the Earth, is a fascinating subject essential for children to understand. As the outermost layer, it functions like the Earth’s hard shell and comprises two elements – the crust and the upper segment of the mantle. The lithosphere is the location of human habitation, plant life, topographical features such as mountains and valleys, and bodies of water like oceans. It is rich in various rocks and minerals.

Astoundingly, its thickness can vary between 15 to 200 kilometers (9 to 124 miles). The lithosphere also houses the tectonic plates, whose movement can trigger earthquakes, depicting it as a dynamic and captivating part of our planet, rather than just the ground beneath us.

Geological Structures

The Earth’s layers, including the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core, play a pivotal role in shaping the Geological Structures that we inhabit and observe today. The crust, the outermost layer, houses all life forms and landforms like mountains and valleys. Beneath the crust is the mantle, an extensive layer of hot, flowing rock whose movements can trigger earthquakes and volcanic activities.

Further down, the outer and inner cores, mostly composed of iron and nickel, interact with other layers, with the outer core’s movement generating the Earth’s magnetic field. This interplay of layers results in the dynamic geological structures that characterize our planet.

Earth Science Facts for Kids All About Earth's Layers - Image of the Earth's Layers
Earth Science Facts for Kids All About Earth’s Layers – Image of the Earth’s Layers

The inside of the Earth also contains a lot of pressure. After the Earth was made, it began to cool. The outer shell became a hard crust of rock. The inside of the Earth is still unbelievably hot because of nuclear reactions that are still going on. The temperature of the rock here is much hotter than molten lava, but it isn’t liquid. It remains a solid because of the pressure.

Fun Facts About the Layers of Earth for Kids

  • The very center of the Earth is the core, which is mostly iron and nickel. The inner core is solid and measures 1,516 miles in diameter.
  • The outer core of the Earth is liquid metal – also mostly nickel and iron. Together, the inner core and outer core are about as large as Mars. The outer core is 1,408 miles in diameter.
  • Meteorites often contain bits of nickel and iron. Scientists believe they may be pieces from other planets which exploded.
All about Earth's Layers Easy Science for Kids - the Hoba Meteorite in Namibie
All about Earth’s Layers Easy Science for Kids – the Hoba Meteorite in Namibie
  • The mantle of the Earth is solid rock, but it’s not completely hard. Because of the intense heat, the mantle is moldable, like play dough. The mantle slowly moves. This movement causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
  • The mantle is 1,800 miles deep.
  • The crust of the Earth is made of granite and other solid rock. Sand, soil and crushed rock sit atop the crust. The crust ranges in depth from 3 to 43 miles.
Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Earth's Layers - a Diagram of the Layers of the Earth - Earth's Layers Quiz
Fun Earth Science for Kids All About Earth’s Layers – a Diagram of the Layers of the Earth

Earth’s Layers Vocabulary

  1. Pressure: Force applied to an area divided by the size of the area
  2. Crust: Outermost layer of a planet
  3. Nuclear: Involving atomic energy
  4. Molten: Melted; glowing red-hot
  5. Meteorites: Metallic or stony objects that are the remains of meteors
  6. Mantle: Layer of the Earth between the core and the crust
  7. Diameter: Straight line through the center of a circle that runs between two points on the outside (circumference) of the circle.

All About Earth’s Layers Video for Kids

Check out this cool video about the Structure of Earth for kids:

Layers of the Earth Q&A

Question: How do scientists know about the Earth’s layers?

Answer: Scientists learn about the Earth by studying other planets, earthquakes and volcanoes and even by drilling into the Earth.