Hydrogen: geological information

H2 gas is present in the earth's atmosphere in very small quantities, but is present to a far greater extent chemically bound as water (H2O) Water is a constituent of many minerals.

Hydrogen is the lightest element and is by far the most abundant element in the universe, making up about about 90% of the atoms or 75% of the mass, of the universe. Hydrogen is a major constituent of the the sun and most stars. The sun burns by a number of nuclear processes but mainly through the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei.

Hydrogen is a major component of the planet Jupiter. In the planet's interior the pressure is probably so great that solid molecular hydrogen is converted into solid metallic hydrogen.

Abundances of hydrogen in various environments

In this table of abundances, values are given in units of ppb (parts per billion; 1 billion = 109), both in terms of weight and in terms of numbers of atoms. Values for abundances are difficult to determine with certainty, so all values should be treated with some caution, especially so for the less common elements. Local concentrations of any element can vary from those given here an orders of magnitude or so and values in various literature sources for less common elements do seem to vary considerably.

Abundances for hydrogen in a number of different environments. Use the links in the location column for definitions, literature sources, and visual representations in many different styles (one of which is shown below)
Location ppb by weight ppb by atoms
Universe 750000000 930000000
Sun 750000000 930000000
Meteorite (carbonaceous) 24000000 170000000
Crustal rocks 1500000 31000000
Sea water 107800000 662000000
Stream 115000000 110000000
Human 100000000 620000000

The chart above shows the log of the abundance (on a parts per billion scale) of the elements by atom number in our sun. Notice the "sawtooth" effect where elements with even atomic numbers tend to be more strongly represented than those with odd atomic numbers. This shows up best using the "Bar chart" option on the chart.

cartogram depicting abundance of elements in the earth's crust
A cartogram depicting the abundance of elements in the earth's crust. Squares for each element are distorted in proportion to the numerical value of the abundance.

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