What is the asthenosphere?
There are many misconceptions about the asthenosphere. This classroom demonstration on the viscoelastic properties of the asthenophere region of Earth's mantle below the lithospheric plates. Silly Putty is used as a model to show how the asthenosphere is elastic when exposed to short-duration forces (like seismic waves) but plastic when exposed to long-duration forces (like the load of the Hawaiian Islands on the Pacific Plate). Lecture by Dr. Robert Butler, University of Portland, Oregon.
Classroom activity is included.
The Earth has 3 main layers based on chemical composition: crust, mantle, and core. Other layers are defined by physical characteristics due to pressure and temperature changes. This animation tells how the layers were discovered, what the layers are, and a bit about how the crust differs from the tectonic (lithospheric) plates, a distinction confused by many.
In this activity students will evalaute Silly Putty and Oobleck, both of which demonstrate proprieties of both solid and liquids, as a potential concrete model for Earth's Asthenosphere.
Using Silly Putty™ as an analogy, this activity extends student understanding of the deformation a rock undergoes as a result of stress, plus several factors that contribute to the behavior.