Write a brief article on the term lithosphere



‘Lithos’ means ‘stone’ and the word lithosphere refers to the solid crust of the earth, which makes up to 29 per cent of the earth’s surface area. It includes large areas called continents and small areas called islands. The continents are Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, Australia and Antractica. They are covered by a variety of landforms such as mountains, plateaus, deep valleys and vast plains. Heights of these are measured above sea level. Look at the table on the next and note the size of various continents, islands, heights of mountain peaks :

Lithosphere (Some important facts)


Asia is the largest continent separated from Europe by Ural mountains and the Ural river. Africa is separated from Asia by the Suez canal. North and South America are also now separated by the Panama canal after cutting of the narrow neck of land that joined them called the Isthmus of Panama. Australia is called the Island Continent as it is surrounded by water mass. Antarctica was first discovered in 1912. It is called the ‘White Continent’ as it is permanently covered by snow and ice. Continents are divided into smaller units called countries. Every country has more or less the same kind of people e.g. India, Nepal and China in Asia, France, Germany and England in Europe.

A major part of the lithosphere lies in the Northern Hemisphere while most of the Southern Hemisphere is made up of oceans that constitute the hydrosphere. Some parts of the land jut out into the seas and are surrounded on almost three sides by water. Such portions are called ‘Peninsula’ for e.g. the Indian Peninsula, and Malay Peninsula.

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