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The elemental composition of heavy ions (with atomic number Z > 2) (hi-Z) in large gradual E > 10 MeV nuc-1 SEP events has been extensively studied in the 2-15 MeV nuc-1 range to determine the acceleration processes and transport properties of SEPs. These studies invariably are based on abundances relative to those of a single element such as C or O and often neglect H and He, the elements of primary interest for space weather. The total radiation of an SEP event is determined not only by the H and He properties but also by those of hi-Z ions whose abundances and variations relative to H from one event to another are unknown. We report a study to determine those variations in a group of 15 large SEP events over the period 2000 to 2015. Five hi-Z ions (He, C, O, Mg, & Fe) were selected to determine variations of their fluences relative to those of H in the 13.5-50.7 MeV nuc-1 energy range for each SEP event. Our average hi-Z abundance ratios slightly exceed those reported by [1] at lower energies, with the Fe event abundances showing the largest standard deviation of an order of magnitude. The event abundances were weakly correlated with H fluences and strongly correlated with speeds Vcme of associated coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These correlations may be evidence of streaming limits in the shock regions of H in the largest events.


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Proceedings of Science