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Book Chapter

Mineral Deposits at the Shelfbreak1

By
Michael J. Cruickshank
Michael J. Cruickshank
Henry Krumb School of Mines, Columbia University
New York, New York 10027
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T. John Rowland, Jr.
T. John Rowland, Jr.
Minerals Management Service, Department of the Interior
Reston, Virginia 22092
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Published:
January 01, 1983

ABSTRACT

The shelfbreak, the transitional zone between the outer continental shelf and slope, is a unique environment with respect to some mineral deposits. Physical and chemical processes exert considerable influence over the occurrence of minerals formed in this environment. Most prominent are geochemical deposition of phosphorus, uranium, and other metals, resulting from upwelling and areas of oxygen minima; physical concentrations of heavy minerals such as tin oxides or gold, resulting from eustatic changes, surface and internal waves and geostrophic currents; biological deposits such as limestones, and precious corals associated with coral bioherms, reefs and atolls; and strata-bound deposits of sulfur, salt, or coal, associated with bedded or diapiric structures. While almost any economic mineral deposit of the type found in continental land masses may be located at the shelfbreak, only phosphorite, some heavy mineral placers, and certain precious corals appear to be products of the zone's unique environment. Because of the water depth and distance from land, prospecting might usefully be limited at the present time to these types of deposit. As the zone overlaps the various legal boundaries of national and international jurisdiction, any prospecting activity should include a complete investigation of the legal factors involved.

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Contents

SEPM Special Publication

The Shelfbreak: Critical Interface on Continental Margins

Daniel Jean Stanley
Daniel Jean Stanley
Division of Sedimentology Smithsonian Institution
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George T. Moore
George T. Moore
Chevron Oil Field Research Company La Habra California
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
33
ISBN electronic:
9781565761636
Publication date:
January 01, 1983

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