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1. n. [Geology]
The thin, outermost shell of the Earth that is typically 5 km to 75 km thick [3 to 46 miles]. The continental crust comprises rocks similar in composition to granite and basalt (i.e., quartz, feldspar, biotite, amphibole and pyroxene) whereas the composition of oceanic crust is basaltic (pyroxene and feldspar). The crust overlies the more dense rock of the mantle, which consists of rocks composed of minerals like pyroxene and olivine, and the iron and nickel core of the Earth. The Mohorovicic discontinuity abruptly separates the crust from the mantle; the velocity of compressional waves is significantly higher below the discontinuity. The crust, mantle and core of the Earth are distinguished from the lithosphere and asthenosphere on the basis of their composition and not their mechanical behavior.