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Abstract

Inadequate study of oceanic sediments accounts for the dominance through the years of a hypothesis which suggests widespread authigenic sedimentation in the oceans. In particular, the deposition on the bottom of chemogenic siliceous material in the form of spherules and other formations, fine particulate calcium carbonate, and the formation of clay minerals on a large scale have been presupposed.

During the last few years, the list of verified authigenic minerals in bottom sediments has been increasingly reduced. It can be said that true authigenic sediments, composed mostly of mineral material which precipitate out of the water, are not encountered. Authigenic minerals are not major sediment forming components but instead are admixtures found in sediments in greater or smaller amounts.

Many authors place biogenous material such as carbonates and silicates into the category of authigenic minerals. However, biogenous matter is characteristically and genetically distinct, and its separation into a discrete group is most appropriate.

Among authigenic minerals the leading role is played by the material formed during diagenesis as well as during submarine weathering especially of ash material. In particular, iron-manganese nodules and microconcretions dealt with voluminously in the literature (Strakhov, 1965; Mero, 1964; Skornyakova and others, 1962; Skornyakova and Andryuschenko, 1964; Arrhenius and others, 1964; Lynn and Bonatti, 1965; Bonatti and Nayudu, 1965) as well as zeolites, mainly phillipsite, are widely distributed. Palagonite is also widespread, the hydration product of volcanic glass formed during the submarine eruptions of basaltic lava (Bonatti, 1963).

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