USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researcher Kira Mizell talks about the discovery of a ferromanganese nodule field on a seamount deep in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Ferromanganese nodules on a deep-ocean seamount
During a recent dive on the New England Seamount chain off the North Atlantic coast, researchers aboard the NOAA Ocean Exploration Expedition, North Atlantic Stepping Stones, discovered a marine geological feature known as a ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) nodule field in the saddle between two peaks of Gosnold Seamount. These seamount-hosted nodules were an exciting find, since Fe-Mn crusts are more common in seamount settings.
Marine Fe-Mn minerals are unique among marine rocks in that they grow slowly over millions of years, building layers and accumulating metals as they precipitate from seawater and/or sediment pore waters. The study of Fe-Mn deposits can yield clues about past climatic conditions and geologic history, shedding light on how the world’s oceans have changed over time.