Phosphatization Associated Features of Ferromanganese Crusts at Lemkein Seamount, Marshall Islands
Friday, 19 December 2014
Old layers of ferromanganese crusts, especially in the Pacific Ocean, have been affected by phosphatization. Ferromanganese crusts on Lemkein seamount in Marshall Islands also are phosphatized (3.3 to 4.2 wt % of P concentration). Furthermore, they have characteristic features that are different from other ferromanganese crusts. These features occur near the phosphorite, which were thought to fill the pore spaces of ferromanganese crusts. Inside the features, ferromanganese crusts are botryoidally precipitated from the round-boundary. The features of the phosphatized lower crusts of Lemkein seamount are observed using microscope and SEM. Elemental compositions of the selected samples were analyzed by SEM-EDS. Based on the observation and analysis of samples, three characteristic structures are identified: (1) phosphate-filled circles, (2) tongue-shaped framboidal crust, and (3) massive framboidal crust. The phosphate-filled circles are mostly composed of phosphorite, and they include trace fossils such as foraminifera. Phosphatized ferromanganese crusts exist at the boundary of this structure. The tongue-shaped crust is connected with the lips downward, and ferromanganese crusts inside the tongue show distinct growth rim. The massive framboidal crust is located below the tongue. Ferromanganese crusts in the massive framboidal crust are enveloped by phosphate, and some of the crusts are phosphatized. Around the structures, Mn oxide phase is concentrated as a shape of corona on BSE image. All of the structures are in the phosphatized crusts that show columnar growth of ferromanganese crusts and have sub-parallel lamination. These observation and chemical analysis of the ferromanganese crusts can provide a clue of diagenetic processes during the formation of ferromanganese crusts.