The Lithosphere

The solid, outer portion of the earth

Plate Tectonics

Continental Drift:

All the countries and continents were once a super continent, Pangaea, but plate tectonics have caused them to drift apart, into the land masses we know them as now. The continents are still moving gradually.

Plate Boundaries:

Convection currents in the mantle cause tectonic plates to move, resulting in volcanic and mountain formation, earthquakes, tsunamis and trenches. The three types of plate movements are diverge, converge and slide.

Image source:

Gradational Processes


The situ (on site) physical disintegration and chemical deposition of rocks. There are two types of weathering, physical and chemical.

Physical Weathering- the slow breaking up of rocks or land surface into smaller particles.

Chemical Weathering- the decomposition of rocks by means of exposure to water, oxygen or carbon dioxide.

Mass Movement:

The downslope movement of weathered rock material, under the influence of gravity.


The weathering away of land by running water, rainfall, wind, ice or other elements.


When soil or debris of rock that has moved due to erosion, is deposited.

The affects of water, wind and ice:


Hydraulic Action:

Surging water exerts a dragging action on river beds and land eroding the top soil.


When rock particles scrape against the channel walls and grind off chips of rock and earth.


Occurs due to the chemical solution of material from rocks being exposed to the stream by solvents.


Wind Abrasion:

Where the wind picks up weathered rock materials and uses them to 'sand blast' larger rock structures.


Glacial Abrasion:

Where the surface of the land is scratched and worn away by the ice and rocks frozen into the ice.


This is how sinkholes are formed
How Scary Sinkholes Are Formed

Human Interactions with the Lithosphere

Land Degredation:

The decline in the quality of natural land resources.


The spreading of deserts due to overgrazing, poor soil management, deforestation, increased land use and the cultivation of unsuitable land.