What Is the Earth Made of?

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The earth's mantle, core and surface have varying chemical compositions, but the earth is generally made up of eight main elements, within which there are four super abundant elements. Learn about the percentages of iron, oxygen, silicone and magnesium in the earth with help from a science teacher and field biologist in this free video on Earth and chemistry.

Part of the Video Series: Biology & Chemistry


Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Brian with ericksontutoring.blogspot.com. Today we're going to discuss what earth is made of. So depending on whether or not you're looking at the core, the mantle or the earth surface, you're going to get different chemical compositions. But just the earth in general is compose of about eight main elements and within that there's four super abundant elements and then sort of all the rest. So we're going to look at the main elements that make up the earth. You notice that the first two; iron and oxygen; make up roughly 30% each. So iron is the most abundant at 32.1%; then you have oxygen which is 30.1% of the entire composition of earth. The next two are silicone and magnesium; they're roughly around 15%. So silicone is 15.1 and magnesium is 13.9. It's worth noting that majority of iron consist or take, occurs in the core and a lot of these other ones occur in the outer layers of the earth. You also have four additional elements that occur in much smaller amounts; sulfur is at 2.9%; nickel is at 1.8%; calcium is 1.5 and aluminum is 1.4. With all the other elements only taking up 1.2% of the earth's composition. So now when the earth formed, there is this differential separation of elements and a lot of the really, really heavy elements made their way to the core or the center and a lot of the lighter ones went towards the surface. So we're just going to examine the core to look at just how different its composition is. So the core is made up of mainly three elements. The core is 88.8% iron. So it's almost all iron; it's pretty heavy and there's an additional 5.8% in nickel and 4.5% of sulfur. So these all combine make up roughly 99% of the, the earth's core. You have a couple of other elements that exist there but they're in a percentages of less than 1%. So this has been a brief examination of the different elements that make up the earth.


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