Talk:Abundances of the elements (data page)

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This page is intended as an authoritative data collection with citation of sources, that may be cited as a central reference by other articles (such as for the chemical elements). Femto 12:31, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Data is somewhat outdated[edit]

At this moment I find the data generally outdated. Not a single source for the continental crustal composition is younger than 1995, and most are from the 1980's. While this isn't inherently bad there are newer sources that are cited thousands of times.

See Wedepohl (1995 "The composition of the continental crust") or Rudnick and Gao (2003 "Composition of the Continental Crust" in Treatise on Geochemistry).

-Scootalmighty (talk) 15:07, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Sortable Tables[edit]

Is there any way to make these table sortable??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:35, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Sure. Done. Materialscientist (talk) 05:45, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

But some of the tables seem to be sorting the figures alphanumerically rather than by magnitude, i.e. the exponents are not considered, and text notations interfere too... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

  • cricobr start...

There IS a way to sort these tables correctly, but it is very messy and seriously prone to the introduction of errors.

Table 1, 'Earth bulk continental crust and upper continental crust', uses one way (possibly the only way) of sorting tables with numerical columns which use exponential numbers, or which have text annotations. The other two tables do not. The first table will sort correctly (or at least will do so if all the cell contents are correct (see below)), while the other two have no possibility of sorting correctly with their current cell contents.

The sort method used in table 1 makes use of the modified cell syntax used in the following example:

| <!--C1--><span style="display:none;">0.0014</span>1.40×10<sup>−3</sup>

This method works because every cell entry begins with a hidden span tag which contains a decimal number string which expresses the proportional value of the number which follows (in this case an exponential number). The text in the span tag determines the sort because all sorts are alphanumeric. What comes after the span tag will only affect the sort if two cells have exactly the same contents in the span tag. At that level the effect on the sort will be negligible or irrelevant.

The problem with this sort method is that there is no deterministic relation between the visible number (exponential or otherwise) and the sort position. The positioning of a cell in the correct sort position depends on someone correctly translating the visible number into a proportional decimal number string and placing it in a correctly formed span tag. Very dodgy, and error prone!

This appears to be a really serious problem with sortable tables in Wikipedia, and one which goes totally against the aspirations expressed in the Introduction section of this Discussion page. Why is it not possible for Wikipedia to come up with a formal syntax for sortable tables which is able to express (and execute!) numeric sorts, regardless of whether a cell contains a decimal or an exponential number, and which provides syntax for the expression of textual annotations?

I have by no means an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the sorting possibilities in Wikipedia, and it may be that a truly functional form of numerically sortable table exists, but I find it strange that, if such a mechanism exists, it is not already being used on such an important page as this.

The second and third tables on this page must be made correctly sortable, or they should be reverted to unsortable. To have tables which purport to be sortable, but do not provide a meaningful sort, is inexcusable.

I will do my best to introduce the above sort technique into the second table, 'Sea water', over the next few days. Perhaps others would like to do the same for the third table.

If this problem exists here, on such an important page, there must be many (tens?, hundreds?) of other incorrectly sorting tables elsewhere in Wikipedia! Serious stuff.

Cricobr (talk) 16:21, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

  • ...cricobr end.

I have now applied the above sort technique to the second, 'Sea water', table (although for one reason or another it didn't get attributed to my login name!). Seems to work OK, and I have checked it to the best of my ability. One thing I noticed, however, while I was passing through the table, was the fact that a considerable number of elements seem to have proportions which vary by an order of magnitude (or more) between the two columns. Would someone with access to the original sources like to check the values?

Who would like to fix the sorting of the third table?!

Cricobr (talk) 16:33, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Convenient way to extract data?[edit]

As a data-page it is expected that the data would be copied and further processed by reader. Thus, it would be MUCH MORE USEFULL if the tables would be in some format which is possible to copy-and-paste into EXCEL or any other spreadsheet editor.

format like this


or this

| <!--C1--><span style="display:none;">0.0014</span>1.40×10<sup>−3</sup>

makes it virtualy imposible without writing quite sophisticated conversion script. Thus virtually useless for most of people who are not programmers and would like to copy and process the data somehow. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Prokophapala (talkcontribs) 18:55, 21 July 2012 (UTC)


Can you add universe column in abundances of the elements next to the solar system. Cosmium 00:21, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I've had no reliable sources available. I don't think there would be any definite data to cite beyond what is described at Abundance of the chemical elements, according to which "The ultimate composition of the visible universe is still a hotly debated topic.". Femto 10:58, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Materialscientist (talk) 22:40, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Abundances of the elements (data page)Abundances of the elements — The disambiguation is not needed because only a redirect uses this name, but other names may be more fitting. (talk) 22:28, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

um, what? Abundances of the elements obviously needs to redirect to Abundances of the chemical elements. This is just the data page to that article, providing details on the figures given there. Can people please use some minimal circumspection before moving things around? --dab (𒁳) 19:04, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Restored. Materialscientist (talk) 00:12, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Solar data is out of date![edit]

The solar system data is apparently based on (or the same as) Anders and Grevesse 1989 from Geocosmochemica Acta (see DOI 10.1016/0016-7037(89)90286-X). This is more than 20 years old! A more updated list, with some very significant changes, is Grevesse, Asplund, and Sauval 2007 (see DOI 10.1007/s11214-007-9173-7). Can we get some solar system data on here that isn't older than Wikipedia? DAID (talk) 04:31, 15 August 2011 (UTC)