Potential Controls Of Sediment Distribution On The Genesis Of Seabed Manganese Nodules

Hyeong, Kiseong
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Geochemical characteristics, shapes and surface textures of manganese nodules from two blocks located in the southern (9°N~11°N) (KR5) and northern parts (16°N~17°N) (KR2) of the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone between 130°W and 133°W were investigated in terms of sediment distribution and metal contents for better understanding of controlling factors of seabed manganese nodule genesis. Two blocks, ~700 km away, are dominated by the nodules with different origins, each of which has distinctive chemical compositions and shapes. KR2 block is dominated by irregular and poly-type nodules of hydrogenetic origin with low Mn/Fe, Cu, and Ni contents and high Fe and Co contents, while KR5 block is dominated by discoidal and ellipsoidal nodules of diagenetic origin with high Mn/Fe, Cu, and Ni contents and low Fe and Co contents. In addition, nodules from two blocks show different surface textures: smooth and transitional in KR2 and dimorphic and rough in KR5. Sediment distribution is also distinctly different in two blocks. The study area consists of three sediment types: Unit 1 ? dark brown mud with an intermediate metal content, Unit 2 - yellowish brown mud with poor metal content, and Unit 3 ? black metalliferous mud. KR2 is characterized by the thick occurrences (<250 cm) of Unit 1 at the surface while Unit 1 distributes thin (<12 cm) in KR5. Higher primary production rate in the southern block proximal to equator and resulting high supply rate of metals to the sediment might be the cause for the dominance of diagenetic nodules in the southern block, but potential controls of different sediment distribution on the nodule genesis can not be excluded. If it is the case, Unit 1 with an intermediate metal content likely has been acting as a sink for metals by precipitating micro-nodules within the sediment column. Within the KR5, the hydrogenetic nodules occur preferentially on the seabed where Unit 3 distributes at shallower depth (<50 cm). Unit 3 has 2 or 3 times higher metal contents than other types of sediments. It might play the same role as Unit 1 in the northern block that prevents the supply of metals to the sediment surface. It also supports the potential effect of sediment distribution on nodule genesis. Keywords: Nodules genesis, Sediment distribution, Supply rate of metals
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