PubTalk 5/2007 — Alchemy in the Abyss
Probing the mysteries of deep-ocean minerals
By James R. Hein, Marine Geologist
- Since President Reagan in 1983 extended U.S. mineral rights 200 nautical miles offshore, interest in deep-sea mining has increased
- Massive sulfide deposits form rapidly at very hot ephemeral vents..black smokers. and .white smokers.
- Slow-forming manganese nodules cover vast areas of the cold abyssal depths
- Cobalt-rich crusts form extremely slowly on the tops of extinct sunken volcanoes
- The year 2009 may see the first commercial mining of deep-sea polymetallic sulfides in Papua-New Guinea waters