The Natural Abundance of Elements

Nov 26 2013

You may know about the different chemical elements and the periodic table, but which elements are the ones that matter? The lovely infographic below which shows the natural abundance of those elements in the universe, inside the Earth, in the Earth's crust, in the oceans, in the atmosphere, and in us!

Abundance of Elements

It's worth clicking through to see more detail, like how the heavier elements are more common in us and the Earth than the oceans or air, and how the noble gases on the right of the table are most common in our atmosphere and in space, whereas we and the Earth and the oceans have more of the reactive elements that ionize easily, those in the farthest left and nearly farthest right columns. Also, see how in the periodic table for the universe, the square for hydrogen is nearly black? Hydrogen is by far the most common element in the universe, and making heavier elements requires nuclear fusion in the heart of a star. It's cool to see visual reminders of that basic fact, that the elements we rely on have all been built by stars.

Author

Research Fellow, School of Chemistry & CRANN, Trinity College Dublin

Dart of Physics Blog

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