Environmental Geology

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 779–787 | Cite as

Geochemistry of dissolved rare earth elements in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean

Original Article


Seawater samples were collected from four locations in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean during the MR02-K06 cruise of the R/V Mirai and analyzed for dissolved rare earth elements (REEs) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. According to variations of REE concentrations and Yb/La ratios, the results show that the river input of the Papua New Guinea islands may affect the compositions of REEs in the Equatorial Pacific surface water. The Yb/La values and the REE concentrations in the waters deeper than 3,000 m in the western South Pacific and the Equatorial Pacific Oceans, which represent the characteristics of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), demonstrate similar variation trend with depth. This result also indicates that the REEs which originated from the South Pacific Ocean have entered the North Pacific Ocean across the equator with AABW intrusion.


Rare earth elements Equatorial Pacific Ocean Vertical profiles Water mass tracers 



The authors would like to thank Dr T. Aono, Dr K. Abe, and the scientific party members, the captain, officers, and the crew of the R/V Mirai during the MR02-K06 (leg 3) cruise for their help in the sampling. The authors also express special thanks to Mr K. Matsumoto (Chief Scientist) for providing CTD and water analysis data. We thank Dr J. Zhang, Dr J. Zheng and Dr M. Kusakabe for their valuable suggestions during this study. We also would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for her/his constructive comments. Z.-L. Wang also acknowledges financial aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. This work was supported partly by the Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology (GCMAPS) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.


  1. Abe K (2005) Apparent biological fractionation between Cd and PO4 in the surface waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Mar Chem 96:347–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alibo DS, Nozaki Y (1999) Rare earth elements in seawater: particle association, shale-normalization, and Ce oxidation. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:363–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alibo DS, Nozaki Y (2000) Dissolved rare earth elements in the South China Sea: geochemical characterization of the water masses. J Geophys Res 105:28771–28783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson RF, Fleisher MQ, Biscaye PE, Kumar N, Dittrich B, Kubik P, Suter M (1994) Anomalous boundary scavenging in the Middle Atlantic Bight: evidence from 230Th, 231Pa, 10Be and 210Pb. Deep-Sea Res II 41:537–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertram CJ, Elderfield H (1993) The geochemical balances of the rare earth elements and neodymium isotopes in the oceans. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 57:1957–1986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biscaye PE, Flagg CN, Falkowski PG (1994) The shelf edge exchange processes experiment, SEEP-II: an introduction to hypotheses, results and conclusions. Deep-Sea Res II 41:231–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Broecker WS (1979) A revised estimate for the radiocarbon age of North Atlantic Deep Water. J Geophys Res 84:3218–3226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Baar HJW, Bacon MP, Brewer PG (1983) Rare-earth distributions with a positive Ce anomaly in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Nature 301:324–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Baar HJW, Bacon MP, Brewer PG, Bruland KW (1985) Rare earth elements in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 49:1943–1959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duce RA, Liss PS, Merrill JT, Atlas EL, BuatMénard P, Hicks BB, Miller JM, Prospero JM, Arimoto R, Church TM, Ellis W, Galloway JN, Hansen L, Jickells TD, Knap AH, Reinhardt KH, Schneider B, Soudine A, Tokos JJ, Tsunogai S, Wollast R, Zhou M (1991) The atmospheric input of trace species to the world ocean. Global Biogeochem Cycles 5:193–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edmond JM, Jacobs SS, Gordon AL, Mantyla AW, Weiss RF (1979) Water column anomalies in dissolved silica over opaline pelagic sediments and the origin of the deep sea silica maximum. J Geophys Res 84:7809–7826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elderfield H, Greaves MJ (1982) The rare earth elements in seawater. Nature 296:214–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. German CR, Masuzawa T, Greaves MJ, Elderfield M, Edmond JM (1995) Dissolved rare earth elements in the Southern Ocean: Ce oxidation and the influence of hydrography. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 59:1551–1558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goddard L, Graham E (1997) El Niño in the 1990s. J Geophys Res 102:10423–10436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greaves MJ, Elderfield H, Sholkovitz ER (1999) Aeolian sources of rare earth elements to the Western Pacific Ocean. Mar Chem 68:31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Houghton RW, Flagg CN, Pietrafesa LJ (1994) Shelf-slope water frontal structure, motion and eddy heat-flux in the southern Middle Atlantic Bight. Deep-Sea Res II 41:273–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huthnance JM, Van Aken HM, White M, Barton ED, Le Cann B, Coelho EF, Fanjul EA, Miller P, Vitorino J (2002) Ocean margin exchange—water flux estimates. J Mar Syst 32:107–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jeandel C, Thouron D, Fieux M (1998) Concentration and isotopic compositions of neodymium in the eastern Indian Ocean and Indonesian straits. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 62:2597–2607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klinkhammer G, Elderfield H, Hudson A (1983) Rare earth elements in seawater near hydrothermal vents. Nature 297:185–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lacan F, Jeandel C (2001) Tracing Papua New Guinea imprint on the central Equatorial Pacific Ocean using neodymium isotopic compositions and rare earth element patterns. Earth Planet Sci Lett 186:497–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lukas R, Firing E (1984) The geostrophic balance of the Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent. Deep-Sea Res 31:61–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Matsumoto K (Ed. in chief) (2003) Preliminary cruise report of MR02–K06 (leg 3)Google Scholar
  23. Nozaki Y, Alibo DS (2003) Importance of vertical geochemical processes in controlling the oceanic profiles of dissolved rare earth elements inferred from the study in the northeastern Indian Ocean. Earth Planet Sci Lett 205:155–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nozaki Y, Alibo DS, Amakawa H, Gamo T, Hasumoto H (1999) Dissolved rare earth elements and hydrography in the Sulu Sea. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:2171–2181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Piepgras DJ, Jacobsen SB (1988) The isotopic composition of neodymium in the North Pacific. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 52:1373–1381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Piepgras DJ, Jacobsen SB (1992) The behavior of rare earth elements in seawater: precise determination of variations in the North Pacific water column. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 56:1851–1862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schmitz WJ Jr (1995) On the interbasin-scale thermohaline circulation. Rev Geophys 33:151–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shabani MB, Akagi T, Shimizu H, Masuda A (1990) Determination of trace lanthanides and yttrium in seawater by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry after preconcentration with solvent extraction and back extraction. Anal Chem 62:2709–2714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shimizu H, Tachikawa K, Masuda A, Nozaki Y (1994) Cerium and neodymium isotope ratios and REE patterns in seawater from the North Pacific Ocean. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58:323–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sholkovitz ER, Landing WM, Lewis BL (1994) Ocean particle chemistry: the fractionation of rare earth elements between suspended particles and seawater. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58:1567–1579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sholkovitz ER, Elderfield H, Szymczak R, Casey K (1999) Island weathering: river sources of rare earth elements to the Western Pacific Ocean. Mar Chem 68:39–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tazoe H, Obata H, Gamo T (2006) Marine geochemistry of cerium and neodymium isotopic compositions in the Western North Pacific Ocean. In: Abstract for the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting, Beijing, China, July 24–27, 2006: B41A-0053Google Scholar
  33. Wyrtki K, Kilonsky B (1984) Mean water and current structure during the Hawaii-to-Tahiti shuttle experiment. J Phys Oceanogr 14:242–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhang J (1995) The geochemistry of yttrium and lanthanides in seawater. PhD thesis, University of TokyoGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhang J, Nozaki Y (1996) Rare earth elements and yttrium in seawater: ICP-MS determinations in the East Caroline, Coral Sea, and South Fiji basins of the western South Pacific Ocean. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 60:4631–4644CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nakaminato Laboratory for Marine RadioecologyNational Institute of Radiological SciencesIbarakiJapan
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuizhouChina

Personalised recommendations