Chemical Composition of Continental Crust and the Primitive Mantle

  • Takeru YanagiEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences book series (LNEARTH, volume 136)


To study the origin of continental crust, we need to first know its structure and chemical composition, as well as the chemical composition of the primitive mantle that is the source of continental crust. The Earth’s continental crust comprises large continents, such as Eurasia and Africa, and islands with continental crust such as Greenland and New Guinea. This definition also includes mature island arcs, such as the Japanese islands and the Sunda arc, as well as submarine plateaus, such as the Seychelles plateau. The total area of continental crust is 2.1 × 108 km2, covering 41.2% of the solid Earth’s surface (Cogley 1984). Its mass is 2.09 × 1022 kg, corresponding to 0.52% of the mass of the mantle (Taylor and McLennan 1985). Its thickness ranges from 14 to 80 km, averaging 41.1 km (Christensen and Mooney 1995).


Continental Crust Oceanic Crust Lower Crust Primitive Mantle Granitic Pluton 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FukuokaJapan

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