A variety of volcanic rock was recovered from the flanks of seamounts, guyots, atolls, and islands in the Ratak chain of the Marshall Islands on the U.S. Geological Survey cruise L9-84-CP. The main objective of this cruise was to study the distribution and composition of ferromanganese oxide crusts. Preliminary results of managanese crust composition are reported by Schwab et al. (1985) and detailed studies are in preparation (Schwab et al., 1986).
A total of seven seafloor edifices were studied using 12 khz, 3.5 khz and air gun seismic reflection, chain dredge and box corer. Bathymetry and ship track lines are presented by Schwab and Bailey (1985). Of the seven edifices surveyed two support atolls (Majuro and Taongi) and one is a tiny island (Jemo). Dredge locations and water depths are given in Table 1 and dredge locations are shown in Figure 1. Due to equipment failures depths of dredge hauls were limited to shallow depth for all except the first two sites occupied. Recovery consisted mostly of young, poorly-consolidated limestone of fore-reef slope deposit and minor volcanogenic breccia and loose talus. The breccia and pieces of talus are thickly encrusted with ferromanganese oxide, whereas the young limestone is only coated by a thin layer. Four of the seven sites surveyed yielded volcanic rock. The volcanic rock, volumetrically a minor part of each dredge haul, consists mostly of lapilli and cobble-size clasts in a calcareous matrix or as loose talus. Most clasts show evidence of reworking, being sub- to well rounded, sometimes with a thin ferromanganese crust of their own.
This paper reports preliminary findings on the petrology and geochemistry of volcanic rock recovered.
Geochemistry and petrology of basaltic rocks from the Marshall Islands