14 interesting facts about oxygen

Friday, February 19, 2010

  1. The name for the element oxygen comes from Greek words that mean ‘acid former’.
  2. Oxygen is the most abundant chemical element, by mass, in our biosphere, air, sea and land.
  3. Oxygen was discovered by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in Sweden in 1771 and then by Joseph Priestley in 1774.
  4. Oxygen is the third most abundant chemical element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium.
  5. Oxygen is an essential factor for burning up the body’s toxins.
  6. Oxygen constitutes 49.2% of the Earth's crust by mass and is the major component of the world's oceans (88.8% by mass).
  7. Humans inhale more than 6 billion tones of oxygen each year.
  8. Earth is unusual among the planets of the Solar System in having such a high concentration of oxygen gas in its atmosphere: Mars (with 0.1% O2 by volume) and Venus have far lower concentrations.
  9. About 2/3 of the human body contains oxygen or cells with oxygen on them.
  10. Excited oxygen is responsible for the bright red and yellow-green colors of the aurora.
  11. All major classes of structural molecules in living organisms, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, contain oxygen, as do the major inorganic compounds that comprise animal shells, teeth, and bone.
  12. Ordinary oxygen makes up approximately 21 percent of our atmosphere.
  13. Oxygen therapy is used to treat emphysema, pneumonia, some heart disorders, and any disease that impairs the body’s ability to take up and use gaseous oxygen.
  14. About 0.9% of the Sun's mass is oxygen.