A thick ferromanganese deposit encrusting fresh basaltic glass has been dredged from the Hess Deep in the eastern Pacific. Contiguous layers within the Fe-Mn crust have been analysed for uranium-series isotopes and metal contents. The rate of accumulation of the deposit, based on the decline of uranium-unsupported 230Th, is calculated to be approximately 50 mm per 106 yr. Based on hydration-rind dating of the underlying glass and an 'exposure age' calculation, this rate is concluded to be too slow, and an accretion rate on the order of 1 mm per 103 yr is more consistent with our data. ?? 1977 Nature Publishing Group.