Chart showing estimated reserves of elements
September 9, 2016 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Some years ago (about 4–6 years, if I had to guess), I came across an infographic that showed various estimates for the reserves of various elements/ores that are known to exist. So, for example, we have (made-up numbers follow) 100 years' worth of lead, 50 years of yttrium, 400 years of copper, etc. The various elements were shown in a sort of circular bar chart, with elements having greater reserves extending further from the center. Can anyone help me track this chart down?
posted by Johnny Assay to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by supercres at 2:51 PM on September 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Keep in mind that recycling makes many of those numbers somewhat less meaningful, for the metals especially. And, being unable to predict the future and all, there's no telling which currently scarce metal will suddenly become abundant with the introduction of a new metallurgical process (aluminum was as expensive as silver when the Washington monument was made) - or, conversely, which currently seemingly abundant resource will suddenly be in heavy demand in a new industry (rare earths, for instance).
posted by MoTLD at 2:25 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah. I'll second that. The data underlying these charts is mostly garbage. I think they have been 50 years of copper reserves since 1900.
posted by JPD at 4:02 AM on September 10, 2016

That's not dissimilar, supercres, but I don't think it's the one I saw; the one I remember had bars pointing out from the center, not spiraling outwards. And thanks to other folks for encouraging me to take this and other similar charts with a grain of salt.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:57 AM on September 10, 2016

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