Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Elemental Depletion

  • Steven CharnleyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_413


Elemental depletion denotes the difference in elemental composition of an astronomical source relative to some standard of reference, usually the Sun. Lines of sight through the local interstellar medium indicate much lower  abundances of many chemical elements compared to the solar composition. This is largely due to the differential incorporation of these elements into  interstellar dust grains. Different lines of sight through  diffuse clouds show different depletions.


The definition of “cosmic abundances” takes account of the relative abundances in  carbonaceous chondrites, which generally correlate well with those in the solar photosphere (Anders and Grevesse 1989; Przybilla et al. 2008).

See also

References and Further Reading

  1. Anders E, Grevesse N (1989) Abundances of the elements – Meteoritic and solar. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 53:197–214ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Przybilla N, Nieva M-F, Butler K (2008) A cosmic abundance standard: chemical homogeneity of the solar neighborhood and the ISM dust-phase composition. Astrophys J 688:L103–L106ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 699Solar System Exploration Division, Code 691 Astrochemistry LaboratoryGreenbeltUSA