The Study of Geotechnical Properties of Sediment in C-C Zone in the Northeastern Pacific for Deep-sea Mining
Recently the market price of valuable metals are rapidly increased due to the high demand and limited resources. Therefore, manganese (Mn)-nodules (Polymetallic nodules) in the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone have stimulated economic interest. Nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese are the economically most interesting metals of Mn-nodules. In order to mine Mn-nodules from sea floor, understanding the geotechnical properties of surface sediment are very important for two major reasons. First, geotechnical data are required to design and build the stable and environmentally acceptable mining vehicles. Second, deep-sea mining activity could significantly effect on the surface layer of deep sea floor. For example, surface sediments will be redistributed through the resuspension and redeposition. Reliable sedimentological and soil mechanical baseline data of the undisturbed benthic environment are essential to assess and evaluate these environmental impacts by mining activity using physical and numerical modeling. The 225 times deployments of the multiple corer guaranteed undisturbed sediment samples in which geotechnical parameters were measured including sediment grain size, density, water content, shear strength. The sea floor sediments in this study area are generally characterized into three different types as follow. The seabed of the middle part (8-12° N) of this study area is mainly covered with biogenic siliceous sediment compared with pelagic red clays in the northern part (16-17° N). However, the southern part (5-6° N) is dominant with calcareous sediments because its water depth is shallower than the carbonate compensation depth (CCD). This result suggests that middle area, covered with siliceous sediment, is more feasible for commercial mining than northern area, covered with pelagic red clay, with the consideration of the nodule miner maneuverability and the environmental impact. Especially, middle part with the highest nodule abundance and valuable metal contents is mainly (more than 90% of area) covered with consolidated sediments, which are expected to be appropriate for effective miner movement. Furthermore, middle part with coarse siliceous sediments could be less environmentally disturbed by the mining activity. It makes middle part more plausible site than other sites in this study area for the commercial mining.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 3022 Marine sediments: processes and transport;
- 3050 Ocean observatories and experiments;
- 4231 Equatorial oceanography