Structural features of continental and oceanic lithospphere and their nature


  • N. I. Pavlenkova Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation



deep geophysics, earth’s crust, upper mantle, petrophysics, deep fluids, global folds, degassing and expending of the Earth


The deep geological and geophysical studies of the continents and oceans have revealed a number of well-defined new regularities in the structure of the crust and upper mantle that do not find a clear explanation in the modern geodynamic concepts.  The regularities are the following. The Earth is divided into two hemispheres with different structure of the lithosphere: the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hemisphere. The Pacific hemisphere is surrounded by a ring of the tectonically active zones with high seismicity (Benioff Zones). The system of the mid-ocean ridges with approximately equal distances between them, 90°, is symmetrical relatively to the South Pole. The crust in the oceans is different in age and composition, it identified the remnants of an ancient (Archaean) crust and large areas of subcontinental crust. The continents are characterized by the large thickness of the lithosphere (more than 200 km), composed of the lower density depleted matter. Experimental data on petrophysical properties of the crust and upper mantle matter at high pressure and temperature, the data on deep xenoliths, geochemical studies of natural gases have showen a large role of deep energy-intensive fluids in the formation of the sialic crust and depleted mantle rocks.

These data give possibility to explain the continents and oceans origin. The irregular in space the Earth degassing results in different lithosphere types formation: the thick granite-gneiss crust and the lower density depleted mantle of the continents were created in the areas of the higher deep fluids flows; in the areas of the lower fluids advection the primary oceanic crust was preserved and only some separate spots of the transition crust appeared. The lower density of the continental «roots» was the main factor in the formation of continents: the lower density lithosphere led to its emerging in respect to the oceanic lithosphere. Two hemispheres with different lithosphere structure were formed may be due to the elliptical form of the orbit, causing periodic changes of the planet accelerations. The structural symmetry of the global rift system relative to the planet poles gives possibility to explain its origin by the expansion of the planet.


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How to Cite

Pavlenkova, N. I. (2019). Structural features of continental and oceanic lithospphere and their nature. Geofizičeskij žurnal, 41(2), 3–57.