Ferromanganese crusts cover most hard substrates on seafloor edifices in the central Pacific basin. Crust samples and their associated substrates from seven volcanic edifices of Cretaceous age along the Ratak chain of the Marshall Islands are discussed. The two most abundant substrate lithologies recovered were limestone, dominantly fore-reef slope deposits, and volcanic breccia composed primarily of differentiated alkalic basalt and hawaiite clasts in a phosphatized carbonate matrix. The degree of mass wasting on the slopes of these seamounts is inversely correlated with the thickness of crusts. Crusts are generally thin on limestone substrate. Away from areas of active mass-wasting processes, and large atolls, crusts may be as thick as 10 cm maximum. The dominant crystalline phase in the Marshall Islands crusts is ??-MnO2 (vernadite). High concentrations of cobalt, platinum and rhodium strongly suggest that the Marshall Islands crusts are a viable source for these important metals. Many metals and the rare earth elements vary significantly on a fine scale through most crusts, thus reflecting the abundances of different host mineral phases in the crusts and changes in seawater composition with time. High concentrations of cobalt, nickel, titanium, zinc, lead, cerium and platinum result from a combination of their substitution in the iron and manganese phases and their oxidation potential. ?? 1988.