Regional Distribution of Rare Earth and Minor Elements in Manganese Nodules and Associated Sediments in the Southwest Pacific and Other Localities

  • P. C. Rankin
  • G. P. Glasby
Part of the Marine Science book series (MR, volume 9)


Thirteen nodules and 12 sediments from the S.W. Pacific, including six nodule/sediment pairs, have been analysed by spark source mass spectrometry for 12 rare earth and 13 minor elements. The nodules appear to be relatively uniform in composition, e. g. La varies by a factor of 2.3. This finding adds weight to the contention that the S.W. Pacific constitutes a discrete nodule province distinct from that of the equatorial N. Pacific. The S.W. Pacific sediments show a much wider range of composition, e. g. La varies by a factor of 7.7. The decreasing sedimentation rate (and therefore increased oxidation state) with increasing distance from New Zealand is primarily responsible for this variation. As, Nb, REE (rare earth elements), Y, Sr, Th, Zr, Sn, Pb, U and Hf increase in concentration in the sediments with increasing distance from New Zealand, whereas Rb, Ba and Cs decrease. The former group of elements are therefore incorporated mainly in the authigenie component of the sediment, whereas the latter group are associated mainly in the silicate component. The equatorial N. Pacific nodule is lower in REE and a number of other minor elements, and higher in Rb and Cs, compared with the S.W. Pacific nodules. This finding is surprising in view of the much higher Cu and Ni contents of these nodules and may reflect the higher detrital silicate contents of the equatorial N. Pacific nodule. The REE content of the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain nodules and crusts are somewhat higher than those of the S.W. Pacific nodules. Lower concentrations of Pb in the Hawaiian-Emperor deposits suggests that this element is not always oxidized to the tetravalent state in such elevated deposits. The iron-rich Eniwetok Atoll sample is extremely in REE which indicates that this deposit has formed extremely rapidly as presviously noted in some other near-shore deposits.


Rare Earth Minor Element Manganese Nodule Rare Earth Element Ferromanganese Nodule 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. C. Rankin
    • 1
  • G. P. Glasby
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Scientific and Industrial ResearchLower HuttNew Zealand

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