Earth’s Interior and Surface

The solid earth provides the essential basis for all aspects of the Earth system, as the energy from the interior is a major force driving the functioning and evolution of the planet.

The creation and distribution of continents, the maintenance of the Earth as an active planet, the control of sea level and seawater chemistry, the creation and stability of the atmosphere, the long-term  control of climate—all of these have at their origin the processes of the solid earth. Understanding how the solid earth works is an intellectual problem of the first order. This problem is increasingly related to our understanding of other planets and the possibility of other planets developing like Earth to create a system that integrates solid and fluid planetary processes with life.