Skip Navigation
You are viewing an older version of this Concept. Go to the latest version.

Earth's Layers

Identifies that the crust, mantle and core are distinguished by composition; lithosphere and asthenosphere are understood from mechanical properties.

Atoms Practice
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Earth's Layers
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Now
Turn In
Earth Polygraph 2
Teacher Contributed

Earth’s Polygraph



Student Exploration

Have you ever caught a friend lying to you about what they were doing and wanted them to take a lie detector test?

Just as a polygraph captures your friend’s nervous twitches, a seismograph captures the Earth’s tremors.



How can seismographs give us insight into the Earth’s secrets? What is the Earth not telling us?

Extension Investigation

  1. Seismograph readings share secrets of the Earth’s interior with scientists. How so? Take a look: http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/labs/seismic/seismic.swf
    1. How can scientists determine the number of layers of the Earth’s interior? List the evidence that they have collected.
    2. How can scientists determine the state of matter (solid, liquid, gas) of each layer? List the evidence that they have collected.
    3. How can they determine the temperature and density of each layer? List the evidence.
  2. Use the Mighty Wave Maker (http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/labs/seismic/index.htm) to simulate a P-wave, an S-wave, and a surface wave.
    1. What happens when you change the density of the material that the wave is traveling through? What would this look like as a seismic wave is travelling through the Earth?
    2. What happens when you change the stress direction? Connect each wave type with the appropriate stress direction. Which waves do you expect to cause the most destruction on the surface of the Earth? Why?

Resources Cited

XKCD. http://www.xkcd.com/711/

Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education (ASPIRE).



Connections to other CK-12 Subject Areas

Earth Science

  • Locating Earthquake Epicenters
  • Measuring Earthquake Magnitude

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Seismic Waves.
Please wait...
Please wait...