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12 Different Ways to Organize the Periodic Table of Elements

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12 Different Ways to Organize the Periodic Table of Elements

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The Periodic Tables You’ve Never Seen Before

The Periodic Table of Elements is an iconic image in classrooms and laboratories all around the world.

Yet despite having an almost unanimous agreement amongst scientists on its composition, there are over 1,000 different periodic tables—and that number continues to grow. This is because the standard table does not highlight all of the existing relationships between the elements.

With 118 elements currently known, there are many different interactions and stories to tell. Here are some of the most remarkable, fascinating and bizarre periodic tables that we could find.

Purpose and Properties of the Periodic Table

To understand why there are so many periodic tables, we first need to understand exactly what a periodic table is. “Periodic” tables get their name because they organize the chemical elements by periodicity (or recurring periodic patterns).

When the elements are organized by their relatively stable number of protons, for example, we get the standard periodic table of elements first devised by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in the year 1869.

different periodic tables

Compared to protons, electrons are very mobile. The way electrons are configured around a nucleus—and how they behave with the electrons of other elements—gives them specific chemical properties.

These properties are similar amongst some elements and repeat periodically. The standard periodic table of elements visualizes this by arranging elements based on these shared chemical properties, providing a guide for understanding similar electron configurations at a glance.

Examining Different Periodic Tables

Below are just a few of the most interesting and unique periodic table permutations not commonly used.

Charles Janet’s “left-step” periodic table is the most popular alternative table. It organizes the elements by the way that electrons fill orbitals (the regions they whir in) rather than valence (an electron’s ability to bond).

different periodic tables

The ADOMAH table by Valery Tsimmerman is a form of the left-step table that groups elements by their principal quantum number.

different periodic tables

The Physicist’s Periodic Table of Elements by Timothy Stowe rearranges the standard table into both 3D-vertical (A) and 2D-horizontal (B) layouts. When merged with the work of Charles Janet and Eric Scerri (C) the result is a unique map of chemical groups.

different periodic tables

Many researchers and scholars also continue to come up with new ways to show the basics of chemical periodicity.

One method is in three-dimensional interpretations of periodicity. Here’s a collection of some of the most well-known designs and their creators, including the Telluric Screw and the Alexander Arrangement from the main graphic above.

different periodic tables

This representation by Anthony Grainger imagines all periods aligning along orthogonal (right-angle) planes cutting a sphere.

different periodic tables

This eye-catching arrangement by Franklin J. Hyde winds a linear count of the elements while putting silicon at center stage.

different periodic tables

Not all periodic tables show periodicity like the standard periodic table. Depending on the message, the chemical elements can take on various unique and exciting ways to tell a different kind of story.

This flowchart from Linus Pauling’s “General Chemistry” (A) organizes elements by the energy levels of their electron shells and subshells. On the other hand, Gooch & Walker’s Spiral (B) is a figure-8 representation that is almost entirely devoid of most atomic information common to other periodic tables.

different periodic tables

The spiral periodic table known as the Periodic Snail by Theodor Benfey swirls outwards by atomic number before branching into additional groups. The unique aspect of this table is that it reserves space for a hypothesized family of elements, the superactinides, and how they might correlate with the rest of the elements.

different periodic tables

These are just a few of the hundreds and thousands of different ways to examine the elements.

As contemporary research continues to break new ground in our understanding of the elements, the opportunities to see the periodic table take on more new forms are shaping an exciting future for chemistry lovers and and data visualizers alike.

For more variations and designs of the periodic table, please visit Dr. Mark R. Leach’s online database at The Chemogenesis Web Book.

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Maps

The Largest Earthquakes in the New York Area (1970-2024)

The earthquake that shook buildings across New York in April 2024 was the third-largest quake in the Northeast U.S. over the past 50 years.

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Map of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater recorded in the northeastern U.S. since 1970.

The Largest Earthquakes in the New York Area

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on Apple or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake that shook buildings across New York on Friday, April 5th, 2024 was the third-largest quake in the U.S. Northeast area over the past 50 years.

In this map, we illustrate earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater recorded in the Northeastern U.S. since 1970, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Shallow Quakes and Older Buildings

The earthquake that struck the U.S. Northeast in April 2024 was felt by millions of people from Washington, D.C., to north of Boston. It even caused a full ground stop at Newark Airport.

The quake, occurring just 5 km beneath the Earth’s surface, was considered shallow, which is what contributed to more intense shaking at the surface.

According to the USGS, rocks in the eastern U.S. are significantly older, denser, and harder than those on the western side, compressed by time. This makes them more efficient conduits for seismic energy. Additionally, buildings in the Northeast tend to be older and may not adhere to the latest earthquake codes.

Despite disrupting work and school life, the earthquake was considered minor, according to the Michigan Technological University magnitude scale:

MagnitudeEarthquake EffectsEstimated Number
Each Year
2.5 or lessUsually not felt, but can be
recorded by seismograph.
Millions
2.5 to 5.4Often felt, but only causes
minor damage.
500,000
5.5 to 6.0Slight damage to buildings
and other structures.
350
6.1 to 6.9May cause a lot of damage
in very populated areas.
100
7.0 to 7.9Major earthquake.
Serious damage.
10-15
8.0 or greaterGreat earthquake. Can totally
destroy communities near the
epicenter.
One every year
or two

The largest earthquake felt in the area over the past 50 years was a 5.3 magnitude quake that occurred in Au Sable Forks, New York, in 2002. It damaged houses and cracked roads in a remote corner of the Adirondack Mountains, but caused no injuries.

DateMagnitudeLocationState
April 20, 20025.3Au Sable ForksNew York
October 7, 19835.1NewcombNew York
April 5, 20244.8Whitehouse StationNew Jersey
October 16, 20124.7Hollis CenterMaine
January 16, 19944.6Sinking SpringPennsylvania
January 19, 19824.5SanborntonNew Hampshire
September 25, 19984.5AdamsvillePennsylvania
June 9, 19754.2AltonaNew York
May 29, 19834.2PeruMaine
April 23, 19844.2ConestogaPennsylvania
January 16, 19944.2Sinking SpringPennsylvania
November 3, 19754Long LakeNew York
June 17, 19914WorcesterNew York

The largest earthquake in U.S. history, however, was the 1964 Good Friday quake in Alaska, measuring 9.2 magnitude and killing 131 people.

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