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 your Case Study:
|Volcanoes and Volcanism|
|Mount Etna, Italy
Mount Etna is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes in Europe.
|La Palma, Spain
The 2021 eruption on the island of La Palma caused widespread destruction.
The highest mountain in Africa is a volcano with a glacier around its peak.
Copper mining at the Aitik mine has drastically changed the landscape.
Over the years, the open pit lignite mine follows the lignite deposits.
|Salar de Atacama, Chile
The need for lithium for batteries increases the saltpans, by which it is extracted.
|Madre de Dios, Peru
Goldmining changes rainforests into a landscape with poisonous ponds.