Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A cross-section of the Earth

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is a story of the earth.” – Rachel Carson (American zoologist), 1907–1964

We now know that the Earth is many billions of years old, and that it has changed an unimaginably number of times over millennia. But before the mid-eighteenth century we believed that the Earth was only a few thousand years old.

Then scientists (who we now call geologists) began to explore the Earth’s layers and found fossils, suggesting it was much, much older than they first thought. In the nineteenth century scientists started to study seismology, and so our knowledge of the deep Earth took shape. We also began to look up, exploring the skies, the atmosphere, and eventually we made it in to space itself.

But what are these layers made up of? How many are there and what is their impact on the whole?

We have collected together a brief summary of the different layers of the Earth to create the below infographic, to help start you off on your journey of discovery.

VSI-Earth-cross-section

Download the graphic as a PDF or JPG.

Featured image credit: Mountains by Victor Filippov. Public domain via Unsplash.

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