asthenosphere [%PREMIUM_LINK%] (ās-thěn'ə-sfîr') Pronunciation Key |
The upper part of the Earth's mantle, extending from a depth of about 75 km (46.5 mi) to about 200 km (124 mi). The asthenosphere lies beneath the lithosphere and consists of partially molten rock. seismic waves passing through this layer are significantly slowed. Isostatic adjustments (the depression or uplift of continents by buoyancy) take place in the asthenosphere, and magma is believed to be generated there. Compare atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere.