Scandium: geological information

Scandium is never found as the free metal. Scandium is apparently a much more abundant element in the sun and certain stars than on earth. However it is widely distributed being present in very small amounts in nearly a thousand different minerals. The blue colour of beryl (aquamarine variety) is said to be due to scandium. Most scandium is recovered from thortveitite or is extracted as a by-product from uranium production plants.

Abundances of scandium 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 scandium 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 30 1
Sun 40 1
Meteorite (carbonaceous) 6500 2900
Crustal rocks 26000 12000
Sea water 0.0015 0.00021
Stream 0.004 0.00009
Human (no data) (no data)

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.

WebElements chemistry shop

You can buy periodic table posters, mugs, T-shirts, periodic table fridge magnets, games, molecular models, and more at the WebElements periodic table shop