Minerals, Vol. 13, Pages 710: X-ray Computed Tomography Analysis of Ferromanganese Nodule Nuclei from the Western North Pacific Ocean: Insights into Their Origins

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Minerals, Vol. 13, Pages 710: X-ray Computed Tomography Analysis of Ferromanganese Nodule Nuclei from the Western North Pacific Ocean: Insights into Their Origins

Minerals doi: 10.3390/min13060710

Authors:
Daiki Terauchi
Ryo Shimomura
Shiki Machida
Kazutaka Yasukawa
Kentaro Nakamura
Yasuhiro Kato

Ferromanganese nodule nuclei are considered crucial to the formation and distribution of nodules. However, because it is difficult and time-consuming to study ferromanganese nodule nuclei, few studies have been performed, despite the large number of samples. Here, we analyzed the nuclei of 934 ferromanganese nodules from the abyssal seafloor around Minamitorishima Island (western North Pacific Ocean) using X-ray computed tomography (CT). Based on the CT number distribution (describing X-ray absorption in Hounsfield units, HU), we classified the nuclei as Type I (>1800 HU) or Type II (<1800 HU). Additionally, some Type I nuclei had characteristic conical shapes (Type I-C) distinct from the shapes of other nuclei (Type I-O). Based on the chemical compositions determined by microfocus X-ray fluorescence analyses of selected samples, we identified Type I-C, I-O, and II nuclei as fish teeth, hard rocks (volcanic rock, ironstone, or phosphorite), and sediments, respectively. These nucleus types were observed in sufficient quantities at all dive sites that we conclude them to be typical of nodule nuclei in the study area. Fish-tooth nuclei were the rarest at all sites, whereas sediment nuclei dominated at most sites, suggesting their significance for understanding the origin of ferromanganese nodules. Hard-rock nuclei dominated at only three sites and probably originated from seamounts.

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