Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to isostasy: eustasy


Equilibrium in the earth's crust such that the forces tending to elevate landmasses balance the forces tending to depress landmasses.

[iso- + Greek stasis, a standstill; see stā- in Indo-European roots + -y.]

i′so·stat′ic (ī′sō-stăt′ĭk) adj.
i′so·stat′i·cal·ly adv.


(aɪˈsɒstəsɪ) or


(Geological Science) the state of balance, or equilibrium, which sections of the earth's lithosphere (whether continental or oceanic) are thought ultimately to achieve when the vertical forces upon them remain unchanged. The lithosphere floats upon the semifluid asthenosphere below. If a section of lithosphere is loaded, as by ice, it will slowly subside to a new equilibrium position; if a section of lithosphere is reduced in mass, as by erosion, it will slowly rise to a new equilibrium position
[C19: iso- + -stasy, from Greek stasis a standing]
isostatic adj


or i•sos•ta•cy

(aɪˈsɒs tə si)

1. the equilibrium of the earth's crust, a condition in which the forces tending to elevate balance those tending to depress.
2. the state in which pressures from every side are equal.
[1889; iso- + -stasy < Greek -stasia; see stasis, -y3]
i•so•stat•ic (ˌaɪ səˈstæt ɪk) adj.


the general equality of pressure in the crust of the earth. — isostatic, adj.
See also: Geology


The state of balance of the Earth’s crust as it floats on the denser mantle. Mountains are balanced by deep roots of crustal rock.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.isostasy - (geology) a general equilibrium of the forces tending to elevate or depress the earth's crust
geology - a science that deals with the history of the earth as recorded in rocks
equilibrium - a stable situation in which forces cancel one another
References in periodicals archive ?
Isostasy also causes an apparent decrease in sea level.
Your lucky state of gravitational equilibrium is isostasy. CASSAVETES IF there's one thing that gets you wound up, it's those little wheels and springs you have to turn to make your watch work.
Thompson, 2000: A 4,700-year record of lake level and isostasy for Lake Michigan.
Sori solved the mystery by estimating the crust's depth and density, which meant he had to find out what kind of isostasy supported Mercury's crust.
This method removes sediment layers, correcting for decompaction, fluctuation of sea level and sea depth and, assuming Airy isostasy, adjusts for isostatic compensation.
Another idea was to use so-called apparent land uplift maps, which are based on repeated levellings and models of Scandinavian isostasy. Indeed, a series of gradually improving uplift maps have been available in the past (e.g.
The state-of-the-art models now include sophisticated transient 3D groundwater flow, sub-glacial recharge, permafrost evolution, glacial isostasy, ice loading, and sea-level change [19-27].
Global glacial isostasy and the surface of the ice-age Earth: The ICE-5G (VM2) model and GRACE.
(2012): The thermal state and strength of the lithosphere in the Spanish Central System and Tajo Basin from crustal heat production and thermal isostasy. Journal of Geodynamics 58, 29-37.
Sjoberg and Bagherbandi (2011) developed and applied a least-squares approach based on solving the Vening Meinesz-Moritz (VMM) inverse problem of isostasy (Sjoberg 2009).
Even the immutable ever-lasting nature of the hills has been eroded away by the modern findings of geomorphology with its isostasy to explain whole mountains and continents rising, shifting, changing over time.