Rare earth elements and yttrium (REY) variability with water depth in hydrogenetic ferromanganese crusts

K. Azami, N. Hirano, S. Machida, K. Yasukawa, Y. Kato

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The origins of ferromanganese (Fe–Mn) crusts that form in seawater and elemental partitioning into these crusts have previously been studied using samples from water depths shallower than 4 km. Here we report geochemical analyses of Fe–Mn crusts sampled from petit-spot volcanoes within the Pacific Ocean at water depths of 5.2–6.0 km. The Fe–Mn crusts have low Mn/Fe ratios (0.63–1.5), high contents of Co, Ni, and rare earth elements and Y (REY), and positive Ce anomalies, indicating a hydrogenetic origin. The Fe–Mn crusts are characterized by lower shale-normalized La/Pr ratios (LaSN/PrSN) than typical hydrogenetic Fe–Mn crusts from the Pacific Ocean. Despite negative LaSN/PrSN and NdSN/SmSN and positive EuSN/GdSN and DySN/HoSN correlations with water depth, the distribution coefficients of the REY are constant. This indicates that the observed REY variability with water depth in these hydrogenetic Fe–Mn crusts reflects that of seawater. In particular, a strong correlation between LaSN/PrSN and water depth has potential for use as a (paleo)ocean hydro-barometer. The variety of REY compositions of Fe–Mn crusts should be interpreted on the basis of distribution coefficients calculated for each water depth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-233
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 20


  • Ferromanganese crusts
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Petit-spot volcanoes
  • Rare earth elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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