Ocean floor manganese deposits

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Abstract

Much of the dissolved Mn delivered to the oceans is slowly oxidized and precipitated alongside varying amounts of Fe into Mn and ferromanganese (FeMn) mineral deposits that occur extensively in the deep ocean wherever sediment accumulation is low and substrate is available. FeMn crusts grow as pavements on rock outcrops throughout the global ocean whereas nodules form as individual FeMn-encrusted particles on the sediment-covered abyssal plains. Both crusts and nodules are composed predominantly of Fe and Mn oxide minerals that precipitate from seawater and for some nodules also from porewaters of deep-sea sediment. In contrast, hydrothermal oxide deposits consist predominantly of Mn or Fe oxide. FeMn crusts and nodules exhibit very high specific surface areas that allow them to scavenge abundant metals and other elements, recording the history of the source waters. Crusts especially serve as an important record of paleoceanographic conditions over the past 70 + million years. Critical metals essential to many computer, military, and green technologies are enriched in crust and nodule deposits to concentrations high enough to compare with, or exceed, typical terrestrial deposits, and they can be considered as potential resources for mining in the near future. Twenty-three contracts pertaining to exploration for nodules and crusts have been signed with the International Seabed Authority, and resource/reserve, baseline, and environmental impact assessments are underway. Many challenges remain to be addressed before full-scale mining of marine FeMn deposits will occur. However, their unique genesis and the growing worldwide need for rare and critical metals keep these deep-ocean deposits relevant to industry, scientists, and governments.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Ocean floor manganese deposits
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-08-102908-4.00030-8
Edition 2
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Encyclopedia of geology
First page 993
Last page 1001
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