# Why is oceanic lithosphere subducted but the continental lithosphere is not?

## Question:

Why is oceanic lithosphere subducted but the continental lithosphere is not?

## Subduction:

Subduction is defined as the phenomena that occurs wherever two tectonic plates meet, where one plate ends up being pushed under and forced to sink into the mantle due to the plate's weight.

The Oceanic Lithosphere is always subducted because the oceanic lithosphere is always denser than the continental lithosphere, due to being enriched with dense elements such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. The continental lithosphere, in contrast, consists of less dense elements such as silicon and aluminum. Do note that subduction also occurs between two oceanic plates, and not just between an oceanic plate and a continental plate.

Plate Tectonics: Theory & Definition

from General Studies Earth & Space Science: Help & Review

Chapter 7 / Lesson 5
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