Abundance of elements in Earth's crust

The abundance of elements in Earth's crust is shown in tabulated form with the estimated crustal abundance for each chemical element shown as parts per million (ppm) by mass (10,000 ppm = 1%). Note that the noble gases are not included, as they form no part of the solid crust. Also not included are certain elements with extremely low crustal concentrations: technetium (atomic number 43), promethium (61), and all elements with atomic numbers greater than 83 except thorium (90) and uranium (92).

Abundance of chemical elements in Earth's crust, from various sources
Rank Z Element Symbol Abundance in crust (ppm) by source Annual production
Darling[1] Barbalace[2] WebElements[3] Israel Science and Technology[4] Jefferson Lab[5] (2016, tonnes)[6]
1 8 oxygen O 466,000 474,000 460,000 467,100 461,000
2 14 silicon Si 277,200 277,100 270,000 276,900 282,000 7,200,000
3 13 aluminium Al 81,300 82,000 82,000 80,700 82,300 57,600,000
4 26 iron Fe 50,000 41,000 63,000 50,500 56,300 1,150,000,000
5 20 calcium Ca 36,300 41,000 50,000 36,500 41,500
6 11 sodium Na 28,300 23,000 23,000 27,500 23,600 255,000,000
7 12 magnesium Mg 20,900 23,000 29,000 20,800 23,300 1,010,000
8 19 potassium K 25,900 21,000 15,000 25,800 20,900
9 22 titanium Ti 4,400 5,600 6,600 6,200 5,600 6,600,000
10 1 hydrogen H 1,400 1,500 1,400 1,400
11 15 phosphorus P 1,200 1,000 1,000 1,300 1,050
12 25 manganese Mn 1,000 950 1,100 900 950 16,000,000
13 9 fluorine F 800 950 540 290 585
14 56 barium Ba 500 340 340 500 425
15 6 carbon C 300 480 1,800 940 200
16 38 strontium Sr 370 360 370 350,000
17 16 sulfur S 500 260 420 520 350 69,300,000
18 40 zirconium Zr 190 130 250 165 1,460,000
19 74 tungsten W 160.6 1.1 1.25 86,400
20 23 vanadium V 100 160 190 120 76,000
21 17 chlorine Cl 500 130 170 450 145
22 24 chromium Cr 100 100 140 350 102 26,000,000
23 37 rubidium Rb 300 90 60 90
24 28 nickel Ni 80 90 190 84 2,250,000
25 30 zinc Zn 75 79 70 11,900,000
26 29 copper Cu 100 50 68 60 19,400,000
27 58 cerium Ce 68 60 66.5
28 60 neodymium Nd 38 33 41.5
29 57 lanthanum La 32 34 39
30 39 yttrium Y 30 29 33 6,000
31 7 nitrogen N 50 25 20 19 140,000,000
32 27 cobalt Co 20 30 25 123,000
33 3 lithium Li 20 17 20 35,000
34 41 niobium Nb 20 17 20 64,000
35 31 gallium Ga 18 19 19
36 21 scandium Sc 16 26 22
37 82 lead Pb 14 10 14 4,820,000
38 62 samarium Sm 7.9 6 7.05
39 90 thorium Th 12 6 9.6
40 59 praseodymium Pr 9.5 8.7 9.2
41 5 boron B 950 8.7 10 9,400,000
42 64 gadolinium Gd 7.7 5.2 6.2
43 66 dysprosium Dy 6 6.2 5.2
44 72 hafnium Hf 5.3 3.3 3.0
45 68 erbium Er 3.8 3.0 3.5
46 70 ytterbium Yb 3.3 2.8 3.2
47 55 caesium Cs 3 1.9 3
48 4 beryllium Be 2.6 1.9 2.8 220
49 50 tin Sn 0 2.2 2.2 2.3 280,000
50 63 europium Eu 2.1 1.8 2.0
51 92 uranium U 0 1.8 2.7 74,119
52 73 tantalum Ta 2 1.7 2.0 1,100
53 32 germanium Ge 1.8 1.4 1.5 155
54 42 molybdenum Mo 1.5 1.1 1.2 227,000
55 33 arsenic As 1.5 2.1 1.8 36,500
56 67 holmium Ho 1.4 1.2 1.3
57 65 terbium Tb 1.1 0.9400 1.2
58 69 thulium Tm 0.4800 0.4500 0.52
59 35 bromine Br 0.3700 3 2.4 391,000
60 81 thallium Tl 0.6000 0.5300 0.850 10
61 71 lutetium[7] Lu 0.5
62 51 antimony Sb 0.2000 0.2000 0.2 130,000
63 53 iodine I 0.1400 0.4900 0.450 31,600
64 48 cadmium Cd 0.1100 0.1500 0.15 23,000
65 47 silver Ag 0.0700 0.0800 0.075 27,000
66 80 mercury Hg 0.0500 0.0670 0.085 4,500
67 34 selenium Se 0.0500 0.0500 0.05 2,200
68 49 indium In 0.0490 0.1600 0.250 655
69 83 bismuth Bi 0.0480 0.0250 0.0085 10,200
70 52 tellurium Te 0.0050 0.0010 0.001 2,200
71 78 platinum Pt 0.0030 0.0037 0.005 172
72 79 gold Au 0.0011 0.0031 0.004 3,100
73 44 ruthenium Ru 0.0010 0.0010 0.001
74 46 palladium Pd 0.0006 0.0063 0.015 208
75 75 rhenium Re 0.0004 0.0026 0.0007 47.2
76 77 iridium Ir 0.0003 0.0004 0.001
77 45 rhodium Rh 0.0002 0.0007 0.001
78 76 osmium Os 0.0001 0.0018 0.0015
Elemental abundances
Abundance (atom fraction) of the chemical elements in Earth's upper continental crust as a function of atomic number. The rarest elements in the crust (shown in yellow) are not the heaviest, but are rather the siderophile (iron-loving) elements in the Goldschmidt classification of elements. These have been depleted by being relocated deeper into the Earth's core. Their abundance in meteoroids is higher. Additionally, tellurium and selenium have been depleted from the crust due to formation of volatile hydrides.

See also


  1. ^ "Elements, Terrestrial Abundance". www.daviddarling.info. Archived from the original on 10 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  2. ^ Barbalace, Kenneth. "Periodic Table of Elements". Environmental Chemistry.com. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  3. ^ "Abundance in Earth's Crust". WebElements.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  4. ^ "List of Periodic Table Elements Sorted by Abundance in Earth's crust". Israel Science and Technology Homepage. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  5. ^ "It's Elemental — The Periodic Table of Elements". Jefferson Lab. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  6. ^ Commodity Statistics and Information. USGS. All production numbers are for mines, except for Al, Cd, Fe, Ge, In, N, Se (plants, refineries), S (all forms) and As, Br, Mg, Si (unspecified). Data for B, K, Ti, Y are given not for the pure element but for the most common oxide, data for Na and Cl are for NaCl. For many elements like Si, Al, data are ambiguous (many forms produced) and are taken for the pure element. U data is pure element required for consumption by current reactor fleet [1]. WNA.
  7. ^ Emsley, John (2001). Nature's building blocks: an A-Z guide to the elements. Oxford University Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 0-19-850341-5.
  • BookRags, Periodic Table.
  • World Book Encyclopedia, Exploring Earth.
  • HyperPhysics, Georgia State University, Abundance of Elements in Earth's Crust.
  • Data Series 140, Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States, Version 2011, USGS [2].
  • Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, Oxford University Press, 2007

Abundance may refer to:

In science and technology:

Abundance (economics), the opposite of scarcities

Abundance (ecology), the relative representation of a species in a community

Abundance (programming language), a Forth-like computer programming language

Abundance, a property of abundant numbers

In chemistry:

Abundance (chemistry), when a substance in a reaction is present in high quantities

Abundance of the chemical elements, a measure of how common elements are

Natural abundance, the natural prevalence of different isotopes of an element on Earth

Abundance of elements in Earth's crustIn literature:

Abundance (play), a 1990 stage play written by Beth Henley

Al-Kawthar ("Abundance"), the 108th sura of the Qur'an

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, a 2012 book by Peter Diamandis and Steven KotlerOther usesAbundance Generation, a renewable energy investment platform

Fountain de la Abundancia, a former fountain in Madrid

Abundance, Royal Abundance and Abundance Declared, bids in the card game Solo whist; sometimes spelled "abondance"

Abundance of the chemical elements

The abundance of the chemical elements is a measure of the occurrence of the chemical elements relative to all other elements in a given environment. Abundance is measured in one of three ways: by the mass-fraction (the same as weight fraction); by the mole-fraction (fraction of atoms by numerical count, or sometimes fraction of molecules in gases); or by the volume-fraction. Volume-fraction is a common abundance measure in mixed gases such as planetary atmospheres, and is similar in value to molecular mole-fraction for gas mixtures at relatively low densities and pressures, and ideal gas mixtures. Most abundance values in this article are given as mass-fractions.

For example, the abundance of oxygen in pure water can be measured in two ways: the mass fraction is about 89%, because that is the fraction of water's mass which is oxygen. However, the mole-fraction is 33.3333...% because only 1 atom of 3 in water, H2O, is oxygen. As another example, looking at the mass-fraction abundance of hydrogen and helium in both the Universe as a whole and in the atmospheres of gas-giant planets such as Jupiter, it is 74% for hydrogen and 23–25% for helium; while the (atomic) mole-fraction for hydrogen is 92%, and for helium is 8%, in these environments. Changing the given environment to Jupiter's outer atmosphere, where hydrogen is diatomic while helium is not, changes the molecular mole-fraction (fraction of total gas molecules), as well as the fraction of atmosphere by volume, of hydrogen to about 86%, and of helium to 13%.The abundance of chemical elements in the universe is dominated by the large amounts of hydrogen and helium which were produced in the Big Bang. Remaining elements, making up only about 2% of the universe, were largely produced by supernovae and certain red giant stars. Lithium, beryllium and boron are rare because although they are produced by nuclear fusion, they are then destroyed by other reactions in the stars. The elements from carbon to iron are relatively more common in the universe because of the ease of making them in supernova nucleosynthesis. Elements of higher atomic number than iron (element 26) become progressively more rare in the universe, because they increasingly absorb stellar energy in being produced. Elements with even atomic numbers are generally more common than their neighbors in the periodic table, also due to favorable energetics of formation.

The abundance of elements in the Sun and outer planets is similar to that in the universe. Due to solar heating, the elements of Earth and the inner rocky planets of the Solar System have undergone an additional depletion of volatile hydrogen, helium, neon, nitrogen, and carbon (which volatilizes as methane). The crust, mantle, and core of the Earth show evidence of chemical segregation plus some sequestration by density. Lighter silicates of aluminum are found in the crust, with more magnesium silicate in the mantle, while metallic iron and nickel compose the core. The abundance of elements in specialized environments, such as atmospheres, or oceans, or the human body, are primarily a product of chemical interactions with the medium in which they reside.

Chemical element

A chemical element is a species of atom having the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei (that is, the same atomic number, or Z). For example, the atomic number of oxygen is 8, so the element oxygen consists of all atoms which have exactly 8 protons.

118 elements have been identified, of which the first 94 occur naturally on Earth with the remaining 24 being synthetic elements. There are 80 elements that have at least one stable isotope and 38 that have exclusively radionuclides, which decay over time into other elements. Iron is the most abundant element (by mass) making up Earth, while oxygen is the most common element in the Earth's crust.Chemical elements constitute all of the ordinary matter of the universe. However astronomical observations suggest that ordinary observable matter makes up only about 15% of the matter in the universe: the remainder is dark matter; the composition of this is unknown, but it is not composed of chemical elements.

The two lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, were mostly formed in the Big Bang and are the most common elements in the universe. The next three elements (lithium, beryllium and boron) were formed mostly by cosmic ray spallation, and are thus rarer than heavier elements. Formation of elements with from 6 to 26 protons occurred and continues to occur in main sequence stars via stellar nucleosynthesis. The high abundance of oxygen, silicon, and iron on Earth reflects their common production in such stars. Elements with greater than 26 protons are formed by supernova nucleosynthesis in supernovae, which, when they explode, blast these elements as supernova remnants far into space, where they may become incorporated into planets when they are formed.The term "element" is used for atoms with a given number of protons (regardless of whether or not they are ionized or chemically bonded, e.g. hydrogen in water) as well as for a pure chemical substance consisting of a single element (e.g. hydrogen gas). For the second meaning, the terms "elementary substance" and "simple substance" have been suggested, but they have not gained much acceptance in English chemical literature, whereas in some other languages their equivalent is widely used (e.g. French corps simple, Russian простое вещество). A single element can form multiple substances differing in their structure; they are called allotropes of the element.

When different elements are chemically combined, with the atoms held together by chemical bonds, they form chemical compounds. Only a minority of elements are found uncombined as relatively pure minerals. Among the more common of such native elements are copper, silver, gold, carbon (as coal, graphite, or diamonds), and sulfur. All but a few of the most inert elements, such as noble gases and noble metals, are usually found on Earth in chemically combined form, as chemical compounds. While about 32 of the chemical elements occur on Earth in native uncombined forms, most of these occur as mixtures. For example, atmospheric air is primarily a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, and native solid elements occur in alloys, such as that of iron and nickel.

The history of the discovery and use of the elements began with primitive human societies that found native elements like carbon, sulfur, copper and gold. Later civilizations extracted elemental copper, tin, lead and iron from their ores by smelting, using charcoal. Alchemists and chemists subsequently identified many more; all of the naturally occurring elements were known by 1950.

The properties of the chemical elements are summarized in the periodic table, which organizes the elements by increasing atomic number into rows ("periods") in which the columns ("groups") share recurring ("periodic") physical and chemical properties. Save for unstable radioactive elements with short half-lives, all of the elements are available industrially, most of them in low degrees of impurities.

Composition of the human body

Body composition may be analyzed in terms of molecular type e.g., water, protein, connective tissue, fats (or lipids), hydroxylapatite (in bones), carbohydrates (such as glycogen and glucose) and DNA. In terms of tissue type, the body may be analyzed into water, fat, muscle, bone, etc. In terms of cell type, the body contains hundreds of different types of cells, but notably, the largest number of cells contained in a human body (though not the largest mass of cells) are not human cells, but bacteria residing in the normal human gastrointestinal tract.

Earth mass

Earth mass (ME or M⊕, where ⊕ is the standard astronomical symbol for planet Earth) is the unit of mass equal to that of Earth.

The current best estimate for Earth mass is M⊕ = 5.9722×1024 kg, with a standard uncertainty of

6×1020 kg (relative uncertainty 10−4).

It is equivalent to an average density of 5515 kg⋅m−3.

The Earth mass is a standard unit of mass in astronomy that is used to indicate the masses of other planets, including rocky terrestrial planets and exoplanets. One Solar mass is close to 333,000 Earth masses.

The Earth mass excludes the mass of the Moon. The mass of the Moon is about 1.2% of that of the Earth, so that the mass of the Earth+Moon system is close to 6.0456×1024 kg.

Most of the mass is accounted for by iron and oxygen (c. 32% each), magnesium and silicon (c. 15% each), calcium, aluminium and nickel (c. 1.5% each).

Precise measurement of the Earth mass is difficult, as it is equivalent to measuring the gravitational constant, which is the fundamental physical constant known with least accuracy, due to the relative weakness of the gravitational force.

The mass of the Earth was first measured with any accuracy (within about 20% of the correct value) in the Schiehallion experiment in the 1770s, and within 1% of the modern value in the Cavendish experiment of 1798.

Group 3 element

Group 3 is a group of elements in the periodic table. This group, like other d-block groups, should contain four elements, but it is not agreed what elements belong in the group. Scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y) are always included, but the other two spaces are usually occupied by lanthanum (La) and actinium (Ac), or by lutetium (Lu) and lawrencium (Lr); less frequently, it is considered the group should be expanded to 32 elements (with all the lanthanides and actinides included) or contracted to contain only scandium and yttrium. When the group is understood to contain all of the lanthanides, its trivial name is the rare-earth metals.

Three group 3 elements occur naturally: scandium, yttrium, and either lanthanum or lutetium. Lanthanum continues the trend started by two lighter members in general chemical behavior, while lutetium behaves more similarly to yttrium. While the choice of lutetium would be in accordance with the trend for period 6 transition metals to behave more similarly to their upper periodic table neighbors, the choice of lanthanum is in accordance with the trends in the s-block, which the group 3 elements are chemically more similar to. They all are silvery-white metals under standard conditions. The fourth element, either actinium or lawrencium, has only radioactive isotopes. Actinium, which occurs only in trace amounts, continues the trend in chemical behavior for metals that form tripositive ions with a noble gas configuration; synthetic lawrencium is calculated and partially shown to be more similar to lutetium and yttrium. So far, no experiments have been conducted to synthesize any element that could be the next group 3 element. Unbiunium (Ubu), which could be considered a group 3 element if preceded by lanthanum and actinium, might be synthesized in the near future, it being only three spaces away from the current heaviest element known, oganesson.

Group 4 element

Group 4 is a group of elements in the periodic table.

It contains the elements titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr), hafnium (Hf) and rutherfordium (Rf). This group lies in the d-block of the periodic table. The group itself has not acquired a trivial name; it belongs to the broader grouping of the transition metals.

The three Group 4 elements that occur naturally are titanium, zirconium and hafnium. The first three members of the group share similar properties; all three are hard refractory metals under standard conditions. However, the fourth element rutherfordium (Rf), has been synthesized in the laboratory; none of its isotopes have been found occurring in nature. All isotopes of rutherfordium are radioactive. So far, no experiments in a supercollider have been conducted to synthesize the next member of the group, unpentoctium (Upo, element 158), and it is unlikely that they will be synthesized in the near future.


Osmium (from Greek ὀσμή osme, "smell") is a chemical element with symbol Os and atomic number 76. It is a hard, brittle, bluish-white transition metal in the platinum group that is found as a trace element in alloys, mostly in platinum ores. Osmium is the densest naturally occurring element, with an experimentally measured (using x-ray crystallography) density of 22.59 g/cm3. Manufacturers use its alloys with platinum, iridium, and other platinum-group metals to make fountain pen nib tipping, electrical contacts, and in other applications that require extreme durability and hardness. The element's abundance in the Earth's crust is among the rarest.

Rare-earth element

A rare-earth element (REE) or rare-earth metal (REM), as defined by IUPAC, is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium. Scandium and yttrium are considered rare-earth elements because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties. Rarely, a broader definition that includes actinides may be used, since the actinides share some mineralogical, chemical, and physical (especially electron shell configuration) characteristics.The 17 rare-earth elements are cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and yttrium (Y).

Despite their name, rare-earth elements are – with the exception of the radioactive promethium – relatively plentiful in Earth's crust, with cerium being the 25th most abundant element at 68 parts per million, more abundant than copper. However, because of their geochemical properties, rare-earth elements are typically dispersed and not often found concentrated in rare-earth minerals; as a result economically exploitable ore deposits are less common. The first rare-earth mineral discovered (1787) was gadolinite, a mineral composed of cerium, yttrium, iron, silicon, and other elements. This mineral was extracted from a mine in the village of Ytterby in Sweden; four of the rare-earth elements bear names derived from this single location.


Selenium is a chemical element with symbol Se and atomic number 34. It is a nonmetal (more rarely considered a metalloid) with properties that are intermediate between the elements above and below in the periodic table, sulfur and tellurium, and also has similarities to arsenic. It rarely occurs in its elemental state or as pure ore compounds in the Earth's crust. Selenium (from Ancient Greek σελήνη (selḗnē) "Moon") was discovered in 1817 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, who noted the similarity of the new element to the previously discovered tellurium (named for the Earth).

Selenium is found in metal sulfide ores, where it partially replaces the sulfur. Commercially, selenium is produced as a byproduct in the refining of these ores, most often during production. Minerals that are pure selenide or selenate compounds are known but rare. The chief commercial uses for selenium today are glassmaking and pigments. Selenium is a semiconductor and is used in photocells. Applications in electronics, once important, have been mostly replaced with silicon semiconductor devices. Selenium is still used in a few types of DC power surge protectors and one type of fluorescent quantum dot.

Selenium salts are toxic in large amounts, but trace amounts are necessary for cellular function in many organisms, including all animals. Selenium is an ingredient in many multivitamins and other dietary supplements, including infant formula. It is a component of the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase (which indirectly reduce certain oxidized molecules in animals and some plants). It is also found in three deiodinase enzymes, which convert one thyroid hormone to another. Selenium requirements in plants differ by species, with some plants requiring relatively large amounts and others apparently requiring none.

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