What are lithosphere programs?

The Lithosphere Program also known as the International Lithosphere Program (ILP) focuses to understand the beginning, transformations, dynamics, and nature of the lithosphere of planet Earth and to conducts projects of awareness worldwide. ILP emphasis on the difference between the ‘desire to understand the causes of societal needs’ for e.g. a natural disaster, a catastrophe that may change the earth’s atmosphere and geography and ‘the desire to know more about scientific destructions’ that means the amount of destruction happening on a daily basis, which could be controlled or modified to create awareness about.

To understand the lithosphere programs, you first must understand what a lithosphere is and what it consists of. The lithosphere is the hard, outermost part of the earth. The layers of earth are divided into the outer crust, the middle mantle and the inner most core. The lithosphere surrounds the surface of the earth and is responsible for the movement of the tectonic plates. It comprises of the continents and extends up to 100 kilometers in length, all around the planet earth in a circle.

Scientists monitor the lithosphere layer because this layer is under constant motion, but it moves slow and steady. These movements are responsible for the movements of the tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are better known as fracture plates. It is believed that the movement occurs due to the generation of the heat from the mantle to the crust. The vast difference in the temperatures of the mantle and the crust cause these numerous fractures to occur. However, some suggest it is due to an external impact on the crust itself. The movement of these plates, or rubbing of these plates against each other, produces friction and is the cause of earthquakes.

The immediate inner layer to the crust and also a part of lithosphere is the Asthnosphere. The geologist Joseph Barrel suggested a hypothesis on the basis of the pulling force (gravity) of the Earth that since lithosphere is the outermost layer and farthest from the centre of the earth it must produce minimum gravity and must be stronger and more resistant than the weaker immediate inner layer that has greater effects of gravitational force. Another Geologist Reginald Aldworth Daly researched on these further to create awareness
The reason scientists monitor this layer, is to keep track of any kind of activity that might help in the future to predict earthquakes and tsunamis. The lithosphere has been classified into Oceanic Lithosphere and Continental Lithosphere. Oceanic lithosphere is the part that is present on the basin of oceans. The Continental lithosphere however comprises of sedimentary rocks that form continents.

Important reads and links:
Wiley.com paper
The International Lithosphere Program directory

Can lithosphere programs help pinpoint future earthquakes?

The area surrounding the planet Earth can be divided into four ‘Geospheres’. Their names are derived from the Greek language and are Atmosphere (atmo means air), Biosphere (bio referring to life), hydrosphere (hydro meaning water) and Lithosphere (litho meaning hard, solid stone). These spheres are however interconnected and may or may not have existence of life or living things.

Planet Earth can be scaled from the outermost crusty layer to the middle mantle to the inner most core layer. Lithosphere is the uppermost, inorganic, hard stone like layer of Earth that forms the outer most crust and is made up of minerals. Beneath the crust is the Mantle. Lithosphere also includes the surface mantle, present just underneath the crust layer. The surface mantle is extremely solid in nature. Below the surface mantle is the semi liquid Asthenosphere mantle followed by the liquid core.

Lithosphere was discovered by seismology, which means its initial identification was a result of listening to wave patterns and vibrations caused by earth quakes. These huge slabs of the rigid rock, formulating the outer layer and the upper mantle of our planet are called as tectonic-plates. The Lithosphere ‘glide’ or movement is calculated in proximity to be 5 to 10cm per year. This movement is the result of the soft layer known as the asthenosphere that the plates rest upon. The movement causes collision or rubbing of plates against each other causing shock waves commonly known as earthquakes.
According to the lithosphere program’s new themes, the program envisions to integrate mapping of the lithosphere that is the compilation of global lithosphere heat flow and strength. The program further aims to analyze Mantle dynamics and examine the deformation and evolution of lithosphere.

Furthermore, the new International Lithosphere Program has assigned a task force under the leadership of Marco Bohnhoff to study the vibrations and tectonic movements in an attempt to pinpoint earthquakes. Their study is primarily based on the phenomenon suggesting that earthquake probability is higher on the plate edges.

Lithosphere is said to extend up to 100 kilometers in length. It has been classified into Oceanic Lithosphere and Continental Lithosphere. Oceanic lithosphere is the part that is present on the basis of the ocean. It comprises of solid rocks or substances rich in Iron. It is about 50 kilometers to 100 kilometers thick. The Continental lithosphere however comprises of sedimentary rocks that form continents and continent shelves. This is more bulky in composition and may extend anywhere between 40 kilometers to 200 kilometers; however, having a density of 2.7 grams per cm3, it is less denser than Oceanic which has a density of 2.9grams per cm3.

What are the benefits of lithosphere programs?

To us the earth is just a big ball of gas and rocks, but the planet Earth is made up of many different layers. It can be cross sectioned into 3 parts to understand the layers. The outermost crusty layer that encases the planet earth is called the Crust. The middle mantle layer is divided into Inner mantle and Outer Mantle and comprises of molten hot liquid called the Magma. The inner most core layer comprises of Iron. It is believed that the lithosphere layer ‘floats’ on the magma layer of the mantle. Movements in these floats are responsible for tectonic activities, including Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions.

The International Lithosphere Program (ILP) tries to understand the start, the changes during, and possibly the end outcome of the lithosphere of planet Earth. International Lithosphere Program also conducts trails and projects of awareness internationally. ILP explains the difference between the ‘desire to understand the causes of societal needs’ for e.g. a natural disaster, a catastrophe that may change the earth’s atmosphere and geography and ‘the desire to know more about scientific destructions’ that means the amount of destruction happening on a daily basis, which could be controlled or modified or created awareness about.
As mentioned above, Lithosphere is he layer that encases planet earth. This has numerous benefits. Theories suggest that human life is possible on and near that layer. There may be chances to fulfill agricultural needs through that piece of land. Above all, the lithosphere being the outermost layer protects planet earth and human life from the numerous objects floating in space, for e.g. meteoroids. Also, it minimizes the effects of the Ozone layer by acting as a protective sheath. Main resources of lithosphere include fossil fuel, minerals, gold mining, iron and phosphates.

Lithosphere programs help differentiating and understanding the sources of origin of the types of lithospheres and how we could not damage them. Lithosphere has been classified into Oceanic Lithosphere and Continental Lithosphere. Oceanic lithosphere is the part that is present on the oceans basin. The Continental lithosphere however comprises of sedimentary rocks that form continents. As mentioned above, we know that Lithosphere movements cause volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. This is due to the transfer of heat in an upward direction from the core of the earth. Since lithospheres surround almost all continents, tectonic activities are a very high risk. ILP also helps us understanding the hazards, the predisposing factors, aggravating factors and effects of these natural disasters and a proper planned scheme to avoid them.

Gambling with mother earth

There are lots of reasons why you can say that people are gambling with mother earth. The CO2 and global warming discussion is a very good example. There you can see that the argumentation is nothing less than a gamble. Global warming is something you can only prove over a very long period of time and nothing you can predict for certain. And that’s exactly the argument againgst: you can’t really prove it. But just because you can’t does not mean that you can act as if it’s unproven either! But this is something these people do and it’s nothing less than a simple gamble (here you can find more details why I think it’s a gamble) for the most important thing in the world: mother earth. To me, global warming is proven and acting as if it’s not is just ignorant. It might work out but chances are that it won’t and we will regret the last 50 or 100 years in the future. And this is the worst thing that can happen. Imagine you regret something so bad and can’t turn back time. Now it’s not too late. You can still go back!