Mills, Rachel A., Wells, Deborah M. and Roberts, Stephen
Genesis of ferromanganese crusts from the TAG hydrothermal field
Chemical Geology, 176, (1-4), . (doi:10.1016/S0009-2541(00)00404-6).
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The rare earth element (REE) geochemistry and Nd isotopic composition of marine ferromanganese crusts allow insight into their environment of deposition. We present REE along with major and trace element data from a suite of samples collected near an active hydrothermal site from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and demonstrate extreme REE variability over short spatial scales. Both positive and negative Ce anomalies are observed, along with varied fractionation of the REEs. Some of the Fe–Mn crusts are formed directly from low-temperature hydrothermal fluids, channelled over 3 km from any high-temperature vent site. A significant hydrothermal component is observed in one Fe–Mn crust sampled. Other samples, collected from the same area, are predominantly hydrogenous and form at a wide range of accumulation rates depending on the hydrothermal plume input. The identification of extreme heterogeneity in source and depositional environment within one hydrothermal field suggests that (1) this variability can be resolved both spatially and temporally within a fossil hydrothermal deposit and (2) the integrated record provided by bulk analysis should be interpreted with caution.
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