Where do trees get their mass from?

Have you ever wondered where do trees get their mass from? What are the elements that make up the substance that formed a tree, its branches, bark, leaves and so on? Intuitively you might guess it comes from the soil, right?

Thought Experiment

Take for example if you buy a small plant in a pot and watched it grow 2 feet higher than you first bought it, where did all these mass come from? The soil? The soil level looks about the same and only source of input is the water you pour periodically into the soil. But….water?

Check out this wonderful explanation by the fantastic Richard Feynman and how we know 95% of the mass of a tree comes from the air around us.

http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/09/25/161753383/trees-come-from-out-of-the-air-says-nobel-laureate-richard-feynman-really

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