Mantle (geology)

layer inside a planetary body

A mantle is a layer inside a planetary body that is between the core and the crust of a planetary body. Mantles are made of rock or ices. They are generally the largest layer of the planetary body. All terrestrial planets, a number of asteroids, and some moons have mantles.

Earth's mantleEdit

The Earth's mantle is a layer of silicate rock between the crust and the outer core. Its mass is 4.01 × 1024 kg. It makes up 67% the mass of the Earth. It has a thickness of 2,900 kilometres (1,800 mi).[1] It makes up about 84% of Earth's volume. The Earth's mantle behaves as a viscous fluid.

Other planetary mantlesEdit

Mercury has a silicate mantle that is approximately 490 km thick. Mercury's mantle makes up 28% of its mass. Venus's silicate mantle is approximately 2800 km thick. Venus's mantle makes up around 70% of its mass. Mars's silicate mantle is approximately 1600 km thick. Mar's mantle makes up 74–88% of its mass.[1]

Moons with mantlesEdit

Jupiter's moons Io, Europa, and Ganymede have silicate mantles. Io's mantle is 1100 km thick. Ganymede's mantle is 1315 km thick. Europa's mantle is 1165 km thick.[1] The silicate mantle of the Moon is approximately 1300–1400 km thick.[2] Titan and Triton each have a mantle made of ice or other solid volatile substances.[3][4]

Asteroids with mantlesEdit

Some of the largest asteroids have mantles.[5] For example, Vesta has a silicate mantle similar in composition to diogenite meteorites.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lodders, Katharina. (1998). The planetary scientist's companion. Fegley, Bruce. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 1-4237-5983-4. OCLC 65171709.
  2. Wieczorek, Mark A.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Khan, Amir; Pritchard, Matthew E.; Weiss, Benjamin P.; Williams, James G.; Hood, Lon L.; Righter, Kevin; Neal, Clive R. (2006-01-01). "The Constitution and Structure of the Lunar Interior". Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry. 60 (1): 221–364. doi:10.2138/rmg.2006.60.3. ISSN 1529-6466.
  3. "Cassini Solstice Mission: Layers of Titan -- Annotated". 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  4. "Solar System Exploration". 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  5. "Griffith Observatory - Pieces of the Sky - Meteorite Histories". Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  6. Reddy, Vishnu; Nathues, Andreas; Gaffey, Michael J. (2011). "First fragment of Asteroid 4 Vesta's mantle detected". Icarus. 212 (1): 175–179. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.11.032.