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Our atmosphere and hydrosphere's elements


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I have found varying answers to this question and I need confirmation .

I searched what the two most abundent elements are in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.

For the atmosphere I found that 21% is Oxygen and 79 % Nitrogen.

For the hydrosphere I found thst the two most abundent elements are Hydrogen and oxygen. But I could not find percentages.

Please help me.

Edited by science101
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For the atmosphere I found that 49.5% is Oxygen and 49.5 % Nitrogen.


This is nowhere near right. At that high of a level of oxygen, humans would all be suffering from oxygen toxicity. We are adapted to the actual oxygen concentration of the Earth's atmosphere.


Besides several websites that will give you the correct numbers, you should be able to find it in many texts as well. Felder & Rousseau's Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes has a listing of the 1st 9 components of air, for example.

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Is this info more accurate?

21% Oxygen

79% Nitrogen


this is much better, though you need to get in the habit of citing where you got these numbers from rather than just using the numbers. Unless you want to imply that you measured this yourself, where then you should state how you measured them yourself.


You may want to consider expanding on what kind of % you are using, too. Is that mass % (meaning that if you take 1 kg of air, that 0.21 kg of that will be oxygen), or is it a mole% (if you take 1 mole (6.022*10^23 molecules) of air, then 0.21 moles of that is oxygen). It is important because very rarely are mass and mole percents the same. There are other percentages as well, but those two are the most common.

Edited by Bignose
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