Seven ferromanganese crusts from the northwest intertropical Pacific seamounts were analyzed for photomicroscopic growth structures, microprobe chemistry, and ages based on Co-chronometer growth rate. The crusts on the Marshall Islands seamounts are thick and ale divided into phosphatized lower older and nonphosphatized upper younger growth generations: the older crust consists of compact laminations and columns impregnated with carbonate fluoapatite (CFA), whereas the younger crust is characterized by porous botryoids and columns of ??-MnO2 and Fe oxyhydroxide. The crusts on the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Palau Islands seamounts are thin and are often incorporated with inorganic opal-A in the uppermost part, comprising the younger generation. Some crusts show scours and fractures. Although the growth of crusts has been often interrupted by mass failure of slope sediments, the crusts on the Marshall Islands seamounts are estimated to have grown at rate of about 3 mm/Ma since the middle Eocene and to have been phosphatized in the late Oligocene during the host seamounts were located beneath the equatorial zone of high productivity. Prolonged infiltration of the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) water into shallower water older crusts redistributed crust composition by precipitating CFA, enriching subsequent amounts of Mn and Ni, and removing some Co. The younger crust has formed at slower rate (about 2 mm/Ma) under the stronger influence of bottom-water circulation in the north of the equatorial zone, concentrating abundant Co. In the uppermost part of some crusts, siliceous skeletons transform with burial to inorganic opal-A and Si-rich Fe oxyhydroxide, suggesting that biosilica diagenesis can enhance crust growth. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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Formation of ferromanganese crusts on northwest intertropical Pacific seamounts: Electron photomicrography and microprobe chemistry