Bulk chemical, mineralogical and selective leach analyses have been made on a suite of abyssal ferromanganese nodules and associated sediments from the S.W. equatorial Pacific Ocean. Compositional relations between nodules, sediment oxyhydroxides and nearby ferromanganese encrustations are drawn assuming that the crusts represent purely hydrogenetic ferromanganese material. Crusts, δMnO 2-rich nodules and sediment oxyhydroxides are compositionally similar and distinct from diagenetic todorokitebearing nodules. Compared to Fe-Mn crusts, sediment oxyhydroxides are however slightly enriched, relative to Mn and Ni, in Fe, Cu, Zn, Ti and Al, and depleted in Co and Pb, reflecting processes of non-hydrogenous element supply and diagenesis. δMnO 2 nodules exhibit compositions intermediate between Fe-Mn crusts and sediment oxyhydroxides and thus are considered to accrete oxides from both the water column and associated sediments. Deep ocean vertical element fluxes associated with large organic aggregates, biogenic calcite, silica and soft parts have been calculated for the study area. Fluxes associated with organic aggregates are one to three orders of magnitude greater than those associated with the other phases considered, are in good agreement with element accumulation rates in sediments, and are up to four orders of magnitude greater than element accumulation rates in nodules. Metal release from labile biogenic material in surface sediments can qualitatively explain the differences between the composition of Fe-Mn crusts and sediment oxyhydroxides. Todorokite-rich diagenetic nodules are confined to an eastwards widening equatorial wedge. It is proposed that todorokite precipitates directly from interstitial waters. Since the transition metal chemistry of interstitial waters is controlled dominantly by reactions involving the breakdown of organic carbon, the supply and degradation rate of organic material is a critical factor in the formation of diagenetic nodules. The wide range of (trace metal/Mn) ratios observed in marine todorokite reflects a balance between the release of trace metals from labile biogenic phases and the reductive remobilisation of Mn oxide, both of which are related to the breakdown of organic carbon.