lithosphere

The lithosphere, which is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) deep in most places, includes the brittle upper portion of the Earth's mantle and the crust. The movement of the lithosphere, called plate tectonics, is the reason behind a lot of Earth's most dramatic geologic events. When one plate moves beneath another, or when two plates rub together, they can create earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain ranges.

Citation: 
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/lithosphere/?ar_a=1
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