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What is the earth made of?

The earth is a big ball, or sphere, made mostly of rock. Inside the earth the rock is melted, but the outside cover is hard rock. The central core of the earth is also solid because the rock is under tremendous pressure. The outside of the earth is a crust of rock about 10 to 30 miles thick. The high parts of this crust are the continents, and the low parts of it hold the waters of the great inland seas and lakes. Men have been able to examine only the outermost part of the crust of rock that forms the outside of the earth, which is why it’s so hard to know what the earth is like on the inside. In drilling wells and digging mines, it has been found that the deeper the hole is made, the higher the temperature becomes. At two miles below the surface of the earth, the temperature is high enough to boil water. The crust of the earth has two layers. The upper layer, which makes the continents, is of granite. Under the layer of granite is a thick layer of very hard rock called “basalt.” Scientists believe that at the center of the earth is a huge ball of molten iron, with a diameter of about 4,000 miles. Between the central ball and the rocky ‘crust is a shell about 2,000 miles thick called “the mantle.” The mantle is probably made of a kind of rock called “olivine.”


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