Characteristics Of The Crust

Earth's crust is divisible broadly into continental crust of granitic composition and oceanic crust of basaltic composition. Continents comprise 29.22 percent of the surface, whereas 34.7 percent of Earth's surface is underlain by continental crust (continental crust under submerged continental shelves accounts for the difference). The continents are in turn divided into orogens, made of linear belts of concentrated deformation, and cratons, the stable, typically older interiors of the continents.

Hypsometric diagrams reflect the strongly bimodal distribution of surface elevation. Continental freeboard, the difference in elevation between the continents and ocean floor, results from differences in thickness and density between continental and oceanic crust, tectonic activity, erosion, sea level, and strength of continental rocks.

Continue reading here: Controls of deformation

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