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Mineral phase-element associations based on sequential leaching of ferromanganese crusts, Amerasia Basin Arctic Ocean

October 17, 2018

Ferromanganese (FeMn) crusts from Mendeleev Ridge, Chukchi Borderland, and Alpha Ridge, in the Amerasia Basin, Arctic Ocean, are similar based on morphology and chemical composition. The crusts are characterized by a two- to four-layered stratigraphy. The chemical composition of the Arctic crusts differs significantly from hydrogenetic crusts from elsewhere of global ocean by high mean Fe/Mn ratios, high As, Li, V, Sc, and Th concentrations, and high detrital contents. Here, we present element distributions through crust stratigraphic sections and element phase association using several complementary techniques such as SEM-EDS, LA-ICP-MS, and sequential leaching, a widely employed method of element phase association that dissolves mineral phases of different stability step-by-step: Exchangeable cations and Ca carbonates, Mn-oxides, Fe-hydroxides, and residual fraction. Sequential leaching shows that the Arctic crusts have higher contents of most elements characteristic of the aluminosilicate phase than do Pacific crusts. Elements have similar distributions between the hydrogenetic Mn and Fe phases in all the Arctic and Pacific crusts. The main host phases for the elements enriched in the Arctic crusts over Pacific crusts (Li, As, Th, and V) are the Mn-phase for Li and Fe-phase for As, Th, and V; those elements also have higher contents in the residual aluminosilicate phase. Thus, higher concentrations of Li, As, Th, and V likely occur in the dissolved and particulate phases in bottom waters where the Arctic crusts grow, which has been shown to be true for Sc, also highly enriched in the crusts. The phase distributions of elements within the crust layers is mostly consistent among the Arctic crusts, being somewhat different in element concentrations in the residual phase.