The ground on which we stand is the part we usually realize of the lithosphere (from Greek lithos for stone), which comprises the solid outermost layers of the Earth, its crust and its upper mantle. The lithosphere is the frame for geologic processes on shorter timescales such as volcanism and earthquakes. Additionally, here extremely slow processes such as continental drift, the formation of mountains and the erosion of landscapes take place.
The lithosphere is the most stable of the spheres of the system Earth. Nevertheless, in addition to the mentioned processes human activities influence the lithosphere. Mining and construction works have a direct impact. Indirectly humanity influences the lithosphere via climate change, which among others has an impact on the stability of slopes and on the intensity of landscape erosion.
Select a theme to see the case studies:
- Plate tectonics – folds, rift valleys
- Tectonics – faults, erosion, sediments
- Landscapes – formed by erosion
- Earth quakes