The Mohorovičić Discontinuity


THIS distinctive discontinuous layer separates the crust and the mantle of the Earth and extends from 30 km to 50 km below the continents and about 10 km below sea-level in the ocean basins. It has been estimated1 that this layer has a temperature of 500°–600° C at the base of the continental crust and 150°–200° C in the sub-oceanic discontinuity. This layer is also under a compressive stress of about 10 kilobars (the mean pressure at 35 km is about 10 kilobars) and it has an average density of about 4.0 g/cm3 as measured by the velocities of seismic waves.

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  1. 1

    Lovering, J. F., Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 39, 947 (1958). See also Birch, F., in Solids Under Pressure, 137, edit. by Paul, W., and Warachauer, D. M. (McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1963).

  2. 2

    Birch, F., in Contributions in Geophysics in Honor of Beno Gutenberg, 158, edit. by Benioff, H., Ewing, M., Howell, jun., B. F., and Press, F. (Pergamon Press, London, 1958).

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    Fermor, L. L., J. Proc. Asiatic Soc., Bengal, 8, 315 (1912).

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    Hess, H. H., Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 222, 341 (1954).

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    Chaklader, A. C. D., and McKenzie, L. G., Bull. Amer. Ceram. Soc., 43, 892 (1964). Chaklader, A. C. D., Nature, 206, 392 (1965).

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CHAKLADER, A. The Mohorovičić Discontinuity. Nature 207, 1082–1083 (1965).

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