Fr.: élément volatile
In → planetary science, any of a group of → chemical elements and → chemical compounds with relatively low → boiling points that are associated with a planet's or moon's → crust and/or → atmosphere. For example, H, He, C, N, O are underabundant (relative to the solar → photospheric values) in all types of → meteorites, including the C1 → carbonaceous chondrites. Any heating of the meteorite parent body subsequent to its formation would tend to drive the volatile elements out of the rock, whence it sublimated into → interplanetary medium.