A detailed TIMS study of (234Uexc/238U), (230Th/232Th), and Th/U ratios have been performed on the outermost margin of ten hydrogenous Fe-Mn crusts from the equatorial Pacific Ocean and west-central Indian Ocean. Th/U concentration ratios generally decrease from the crust's surface down to 0.5-1 mm depth and growth rates estimated by uranium and thorium isotope ratios are significantly different in Fe-Mn crusts from the Peru Basin and the west-central Indian Ocean. Fe-Mn crusts from the same geographical area define a single trend in plots of Ln (234Uexc/238U) vs. Ln(230Th/232Th) and Th/U ratios vs. age of the analysed fractions. Results suggest that (1) hydrogenous Fe-Mn crusts remain closed-systems after formation, and consequently (2) the discrepancy observed between the 230Th and 234U chronometers in Fe-Mn crusts, and the variations of the Th/U ratios through the margin of Fe-Mn crusts, are not due to redistribution of uranium and thorium isotopes after oxyhydroxide precipitation, but rather to temporal variations of both Th/U and initial thorium activity ratios recorded by the Fe-Mn layers. Implications of these observations for determination of Fe-Mn crust growth-rates are discussed. Variations of both Th/U and initial Th activity ratios in Fe-Mn crusts might be related to changes in particle input to seawater and/or changes in ocean circulation during the last 150 ka. Copyright ?? 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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238U-234U-230Th disequilibrium in hydrogenous oceanic Fe-Mn crusts: Palaeoceanographic record or diagenetic alteration?