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Geochemical Journal
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Major and trace element compositions and resource potential of ferromanganese crust at Takuyo Daigo Seamount, northwestern Pacific Ocean

Tatsuo Nozaki, Ayaka Tokumaru, Yutaro Takaya, Yasuhiro Kato, Katsuhiko Suzuki, Tetsuro Urabe
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 50, No. 6, P. 527-537, 2016


We report major element and trace element compositions of ferromanganese crusts (Fe-Mn crusts) on Takuyo Daigo Seamount, northwestern Pacific Ocean. Highly enriched elements in these crusts, such as Co (6500 ppm), Ni (4000 ppm), Mo (520 ppm), Te (39 ppm), W (92 ppm), Pt (0.19 ppm), and rare earth elements (REEs; ∑REE = 1700 ppm), exhibit strong positive correlations with either Fe or Mn concentrations. Chemical analyses of the crusts show that the Fe/Mn ratio decreases toward shallower water and older deposits. Thus, deeper or younger crust is more promising as a REE (other than Ce) resource, and shallower or older crust has a greater potential as Co, Ni, Ce, and Pt resources. REE profiles of Fe-Mn crusts with less than 0.5 wt% P, normalized to post-Archean average Australian shale, are flat with positive Ce anomalies whereas samples with more than 0.5 wt% P are enriched in heavy REE, and four samples from deep in the crusts with more than 2.2 wt% P do not exhibit positive Ce anomalies. These differences in REE patterns can be explained by mixing of Fe-Mn oxide and Ca-phosphate minerals (apatite). Assuming that Fe-Mn crusts with 5 cm thickness and 1.29 g/cm3 dry density are homogeneously distributed at water depths from 1000 to 3000 m along the 500 km perimeter of Takuyo Daigo Seamount, the possible reserve represented by Fe-Mn crusts is roughly 65 Mt of ore. Based on the average concentrations obtained here, resource amounts at Takuyo Daigo Seamount are 420 × 103 t Co, 110 × 103 tREO, 2500 t Dy, and 440 t Tb, comparable to the known reserves of major mineral producing nations. Thus, Fe-Mn crusts in the northwestern Pacific Ocean have a notable potential as a source of Co.


Fe-Mn crust, Takuyo Daigo Seamount, northwestern Pacific Ocean, resource potential evaluation

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