Geochemistry of ferromanganese nodules from DOMES site a, Northern Equatorial Pacific: Multiple diagenetic metal sources in the deep sea
The major and minor element composition of ferromanganese nodules from DOMES Site A has been determined by X-ray fluorescence methods. Three phases appear to control the bulk compositions: Mn and Fe oxyhydroxides and aluminosilicates. Relatively wide compositional variations are evident throughout the area. Nodules with high Mn/Fe ratios, high Cu, Mg, Mo, Ni and Zn concentrations and high todorokite/δ-MnO 2 ratios have granular surface textures and are confined to an east-west trending depression with thin Quaternary sediment cover. Nodules with low Mn/Fe ratios, high concentrations of As, Ca, Ce, Co, La, P, Sr, Ti, V, Y and Zr and low todorokite/δ-MnO 2 ratios have smooth surfaces and are confined to shallower areas with relatively thick Quaternary sediment to the north and south of the depression. All nodules in the area have compositions which are influenced by diagenesis, but those with the most marked diagenetic signature (high Mn/Fe and Cu/Ni ratios, low Ce/La ratios and more todorokite) are found in areas of very slow or non-existent sedimentation; many of these nodules are actually in contact with outcropping Tertiary sediment. This paradox may be resolved by postulating, by analogy with some shallow-water occurrences, that the nodules accrete from bottom waters which have enhanced particulate and dissolved metal contents derived from diagenetic reaction in areas remote from the site of nodule formation. The metals are supplied in a bottom flow (probably Antarctic Bottom Water) which also erodes, or prevents modern sedimentation in, the depression. Nodules on the flanks of the depression are not evidently affected by this flow and derive at least pan of their constituent metals from diagenetic reaction in the underlying Quaternary sediment. Apparently, abyssal diagenetic nodules can have an immediate and a remote diagenetic metal source. Metal fluxes derived from pore water dissolved metal gradients may not be relevant to particular accreting nodules if a significant fraction of their metals is derived from outside the area in which they form.