Equilibrium Elastic Stress Field of the Earth’s Solid Shell

In modern geophysics, hydrostatic dependence of pressure on the depth in the lithosphere is postulated. It is considered evident and requiring no proof. As shown in the present work, the above postulate is erroneous. Proceeding from one of the fundamental laws of physics related to the minimum of potential energy in the equilibrium state, one can derive a nonhydrostatic solution of the elasticity equation with minimum elastic energy referred to as a Gravitational Equilibrium Field with an energy by an order of magnitude less than the hydrostatic field energy. The Earth’s solid shell like a bearing structure carries its own weight, which reduces the pressure on the surface of the liquid nucleus down to zero. The influence of solidity in the subsurface region of the Earth is characteristic. As the calculation shows, although the rock density in the crust is thrice as much as that of the water, the pressure in the ocean at the same depth is higher than the pressure in the solid crust, which is an account for the existence of land. If there was a hydrostatic stress distribution, the pressure under the continents would be thrice as much as that in the ocean and the continents would descend below sea level.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Ivanchin, A. (2014) Equilibrium Elastic Stress Field of the Earth’s Solid Shell. International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 464-473. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.54044.

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