Separation of Copper and Nickel by Low Temperature Processes
When copper and nickel enter estuaries they exhibit distinct geochemical behaviours. Copper tends to become associated with solids while nickel remains dissolved. Nickel is thus free to enter the oceans while copper accumulates in estuarine or near-shore sediments. Early diagenesis in pelagic sediments acts to reverse these estuarine effects. Copper scavenged from sea water is remobilized at the sea-sediment boundary and ninety percent of this copper is recycled to sea water. On the other hand, twenty-five per cent of all the nickel deposited in pelagic sediments is associated with authigenic manganese oxides. Since most pelagic sediments are oxidative near the interface, this gleaned nickel is effectively removed from sea water. These results demonstrate that copper and nickel are fractionated continuously from initial weathering to final burial in sediments.
KeywordsPore Water Manganese Oxide Early Diagenesis Manganese Nodule Pelagic Sediment
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