Most Abundant Element on Earth

We already know what are elements in chemistry. In this article, we will learn about the most abundant element on earth and its atmosphere. 

Some elements are found in abundance whereas some elements are almost rare on the Earth.

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Did you know that there are a total of 118 elements? (read What is an element in Chemistry with examples?) And out of these, 94 elements occur naturally on earth, albeit in different concentrations. 

But which element is present in the greatest abundance on the earth? Let’s take a look.

Iron:- It’s the most abundant element on earth. (including the concentration in all three layers)

The Earth weighs around 5.98 x 1024 Kg. And that it is composed mostly of iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and aluminium (1.4%, with the remaining 1.2% consisting of rare elements.

However, individual earth layers have varying concentrations of the elements.

(Quick refresher The earth consists of three layers-crust, mantle, and core.)

Most abundant element on earth crust

The crust is the outermost layer of the Earth. It contains both oceans and landmasses.

Oxygen-The Most Abundant Element in Earth’s Crust

Oxygen constitutes about 46.6% of the mass of the earth’s crust, making it the most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

It is most commonly found in combination with silicon and iron as silicate minerals and iron ore compounds respectively.

Silicon-The Second-Most Abundant Element in Earth’s Crust

Silicon makes up about 28% of the earth’s crust by mass and is, therefore, the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

It is commonly found in combination with oxygen as silicate materials.

Aluminum-The third-most common element in the Earth’s crust

Aluminum comprises about 8.3% of the earth’s crust by mass, making it the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

It is always found in combination with other elements.

The common aluminum compounds found in the earth’s crust are:-

  1. Aluminium oxide
  2. Aluminum hydroxide
  3. Potassium aluminum sulfate

Iron-The fourth most prevalent element in the Earth’s crust

Iron composes about 5.6% of the earth’s crust by mass, making it the fourth most prevalent element in the earth’s crust.

The common iron compounds found in the earth’s crust are:-

  1. Hematite
  2. Magnetite
  3. Siderite

Calcium-The fifth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust

Calcium comprises about 4.2% of the earth’s crust by mass, making it the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

As with aluminum, calcium is highly reactive and is not found free in nature. It readily reacts with oxygen and water to form its compounds. The common calcium compounds in the earth’s crust are:-

  1. Calcium carbonate
  2. Gypsum
  3. Anhydrite
  4. Fluorite
  5. Apatite

Other common elements in the Earth’s crust:-

  1. Sodium-Sixth most common element (2.5% of the earth’s crust by mass)
  2. Magnesium-Seventh most prevalent element (2.4% of the earth’s crust by mass)
  3. Potassium-Eighth most abundant element (2% of the earth’s crust by mass)

The most abundant element in the oceans

The five most abundant elements in the ocean by mass are:- 

  1. Oxygen (85.84%)
  2. Hydrogen (10.82%)
  3. Chlorine (1.94%)
  4. Sodium (1.08%)
  5. Magnesium (0.13%)

The Most Abundant Element In The Earth’s Mantle

The mantle is the second layer of the earth. And unlike the earth’s crust, the concentration of magnesium is way greater.

The most abundant elements, by mass, in the earth’s mantle are as follows:

  1. Oxygen 45%
  2. Magnesium 23%
  3. Silicon 22%
  4. Iron 5.8%
  5. Calcium 2.3%
  6. Aluminum 2.2%
  7. Sodium 0.3%
  8. Potassium 0.3%

The Most Abundant Element In The Earth’s Core

The Earth’s core is the innermost layer. It is primarily composed of iron (88.8%). Other common elements:-

  1. Nickel (5.8%)
  2. Sulfur (4.5%)

Most abundant element on earth atmosphere

The most abundant element in the atmosphere by volume fraction is nitrogen (78.1%). Other more prevalent elements in the atmosphere:-

  1. Oxygen (20.9%)
  2. Argon (0.96%)

We hope that this brief and informative article will answer your inquisitive query about the most abundant element on the earth.


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