The planet is divided into four realms. The lithosphere is one of the four realms. The origin of the prefix “Litho” stands for stone or marble in Greek. The lithosphere includes a solid and rigid vertical layer of the earth. Let us learn about the layers of the lithosphere and plants growing in the lithosphere.
Lithosphere Explained for Kids
A simple Lithosphere definition for kids is, “Lithosphere is a solid, rocky part of the earth." This hard, rocky part consists of the crust and the upper mantle. Therefore, this realm can be considered the shell of the earth. The realm above the lithosphere is the atmosphere, and the realm below the lithosphere is the asthenosphere. The asthenosphere is a hotter and deeper part of the upper mantle that can flow.
There are Two Types of Lithosphere:
The part of the lithosphere that lies under the ocean is called the oceanic lithosphere. Therefore, the floor of the sea also comes under the lithosphere.
The part of the lithosphere which constitutes the continent we live in is called the continental lithosphere. The continental lithosphere is related to the mountains, plains, valleys, soil, sand, and rocks. The tectonic plates that make up the lithosphere move relative to one another.
Interaction of the Lithosphere with Plants
Interaction of the Biosphere with the Lithosphere
Plants belong to the biosphere realm. The biosphere realm is the realm that involves everything that has life. The prefix of the word "biosphere,” i.e., "bio,” means life. Therefore, plants are also a part of the biosphere. Although scientists have divided the earth into realms or spheres, they all exist together. Hence, the spheres interact, and a relationship is established between them.
The plants that once existed on earth eventually die and then decompose into the soil. The decomposed matter passes into the lithosphere from the biosphere. As time passes, they become a part of the lithosphere as fossil fuels.
You may now think this is the only relationship that plants and the lithosphere share, but no! You are wrong. Plants and trees also depend on the lithosphere. Plants use the nutrients from the dead and decomposed organic matter in the soil to thrive. Apart from this, plants and trees also help hold moisture in the soil, preventing the soil from flowing away easily due to erosion.
All of the above things were easy to understand, but do you know there is another superhero from the lithosphere that benefits the plants and the entire biosphere? That superhero is a volcano. Volcanoes may seem very dangerous, which they are, but they release a lot of nitrogen gas along with lava when they erupt. Nitrogen gas is an essential factor that enables life on earth to exist. This is how the lithosphere is related to plants.
We have understood the lithosphere, the types of the lithosphere, the components of the lithosphere, and the relationship between the two spheres, the lithosphere and the biosphere.