Wikipedia about the elemental composition of Mars:

Based on these data sources, scientists think that the most abundant chemical elements in the Martian crust, besides silicon and oxygen, are iron, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, and potassium. These elements are major components of the minerals comprising igneous rocks. The elements titanium, chromium, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, sodium, and chlorine are less abundant but are still important components of many accessory minerals and of secondary minerals (weathering products) in the dust and soils (regolith).

But are the above named elements all the different chemical elements that have been found on Mars ?

I would like to know for sure by reading all the scientific articles, that put together, give proof of all the found elements on Mars.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why don't you start with the references given in the wiki section? Also it is not very usual to put all elements in one article. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 17:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Mars is very big - you can take it for granted that all elements, and all naturally occurring isotopes of those elements, occur on Mars. $\endgroup$
    – Ags1
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 18:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "at what depth?" We have no way of knowing, since nobody ever drilled a hole into Mars. Assumptions about the bulk compositions stem from surface mineralogy and martian meteorites. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 18:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ChristopherJamesHuff: To make this argument is pretty unscientific, don't you think? You want to know instead of assuming, or? In fact curator.jsc.nasa.gov/antmet/mmc/introduction.cfm (based on martian meteorites) seems to indicate that the oxygen fractionation line is different (indicating different formation age, fig. 3), and the element abundances are similar, but different in important places. Elemental differences hint at differences in the formation and evolution processes, and you don't want to assume that information away. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 22:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ChristopherJamesHuff: The CP is a guideline to guide our intuition and interpretation for cosmological questions, not planet forming ones. As for the elements, we have hard facts from astrophysics. Stars and galaxies evolve the metallicities of the ISM from which the next stars form. We see varying elemental and isotopic ratios in other, non-convective stars. Furthermore we know many physiochemical processes that separate for isotopes. Thus, we have clear evidence that Earth may be not 'special' according to the CP, but different, as is every other star. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


From Mars Fact Sheet:

hydrogen (H), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), argon (Ar), neon (Ne), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe).

From Inorganic analysis of martian surface samples at the viking landing sites:

silicon (Si), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), titanium (Ti), strontium (Sr), yttrium (Y).

From Martian surface chemistry: APXS results from the Pathfinder landing site:

sodium (Na), phosphorus (P), chlorine (Cl), potassium (K), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn) .

From In situ detection of boron by ChemCam on Mars:

boron (B).

From Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale crater, Mars:

barium (Ba), rubidium (Rb), lithium (Li).

From Copper enrichments in the Kimberley formation in Gale crater, Mars: Evidence for a Cu deposit at the source:

copper (Cu).

From First detection of fluorine on Mars: Implications for Gale Crater's geochemistry:

fluorine (F).

From Variations in K/Th on Mars:

thorium (Th).

From Zinc and germanium in the sedimentary rocks of Gale Crater on Mars indicate hydrothermal enrichment followed by diagenetic fractionation:

germanium (Ge), zinc (Zn), bromine (Br), cobalt (Co).

From Nickel on Mars: Constraints on meteoritic material at the surface:

nickel (Ni).

From First Measurement of Helium on Mars: Implications for the Problem of Radiogenetic Gases on the Terrestrial Planets:

helium (He).

From Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS): Results from Gusev crater and calibration report:
(Figure 32)

lead (Pb).


selenium (Se).

To be continued.

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Oscar Lanzi Great, meteorites from Mars fallen on Earth appear to contain Gold as well, so it seems a matter of time to be found ! $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 11:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Interestingly, the elements listed are most of the first 39 elements of the periodic table. Of the first 39 elemtents, the ones not found on Mars, so far, are: He, Be, Sc, V, Ga, As & Se. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We can remove helium from the missing elements, that element having been documented from UV ovservatiobns in the atmospheres of both Mars and Venus. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2020 at 21:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well done with providing such a list. It should also be obvious that the harder you look the more you will find so evidence for rare heavier elements might not arrive for a long time. But that does not mean they are absent. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 10:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Slarty Thanks, I think Perseverance with rhe PIXL spectrometer will be able to detect the rare heavier elements, until now they gave it just not time enough. Probably more important things to discover right now. $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 10:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.