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Lithosphere

Terra cutaway from core to crust, the lithosphere comprising the crust and lithospheric mantle (detail not to scale)

A lithosphere is the rigid, outermost shell of a rocky planet, and can be identified on the basis of its mechanical properties. On Terra, it comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater. The outermost shell of a rocky planet, the crust, is defined on the basis of its chemistry and mineralogy.