Reading about Energy Critical Elements (or ECEs) the other day, the Clear Science Staff found ourselves thinking of this plot of elemental abundance in the Earth’s crust. The data comes from this US Geological Survey website. This can give you a good idea of how easy certain elements are to come by. The most common are oxygen (O) and silicon (Si), otherwise known as sand or glass when you put them together (silica SiO2).
Precious metals like platinum (Pt), gold (Au), and osmium (Os) are in the group of lowest occurrence. Rare earths are labeled in blue, and you can easily see they are not the most common but also not the rarest elements. However, this numerical “abundance” is only part of the story. There are other considerations when deciding how easy an element is to come by …  

Reading about Energy Critical Elements (or ECEs) the other day, the Clear Science Staff found ourselves thinking of this plot of elemental abundance¬†in the Earth’s crust. The data comes from this US Geological Survey website. This can give you a good idea of how easy certain elements are to come by. The most common are oxygen (O) and silicon (Si), otherwise known as sand or glass when you put them together (silica SiO2).

Precious metals like platinum (Pt), gold (Au), and osmium (Os) are in the group of lowest occurrence. Rare earths are labeled in blue, and you can easily see they are not the most common but also not the rarest elements. However, this numerical “abundance” is only part of the story. There are other considerations when deciding how easy an element is to come by … ¬†