Earth is the third closest planet to the Sun and the only celestial body known to harbor and support life. Approximately 29.2% of the Earth’s surface is made up of land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is covered by water, mostly by oceans, bays and other brackish bodies of water, but also by lakes, rivers and other fresh water, which together form the hydrosphere. Most of the Earth’s polar regions are covered by ice. Earth’s outer layers are divided into several rigid tectonic plates that have migrated across the surface over millions of years while their interiors remain active, with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates Earth’s magnetic field, and a convective mantle that drives plate tectonics.
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