Pelagic ferromanganese nodules are abundant at the sea floor in areas where oxidized sediments are accumulating at rates of less than about 7 m per million years. Foraging benthic organisms are believed to keep nodules at the sea floor for periods of hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Such benthic activity has yet to be observed, however.
Economically attractive concentrations of Cu and Ni are found only on the fringes of the Pacific equatorial zone of high surface biological productivity. Existing data suggest that the surface biota extract transition metals from seawater and deliver them to the sea floor in large particles, such as fecal pellets. Oxic and suboxic diagensis of the biogenic debris frees the metals to enter the sediments or nodules, or to escape to the bottom waters of the ocean. The relative roles of inorganic reactions, bacterial activity (both in releasing and fixing transition metals), and nodule mineralogy in controlling nodule compositions still are controversial and currently are areas of active research. Cu and Ni are less abundant in nodules beneath the most productive surface waters because of dilution by manganese released from underlying, organic-rich, reduced sediments.
Assuming that legal-social-political questions surrounding the commercial exploitation of deep-sea nodules can be resolved by the United Nations Law of the Sea and subsequent negotiations, it appears that 8 to 60 mine sites, each containing about 70 million tons of recoverable nodules with more than about 1.8 percent Cu + Ni and having surface concentrations in excess of 5 kg per square meter, are available in the Clarion-Clipperton region of the eastern equatorial North Pacific. Development of the first of these sites should be far advanced by the end of this century.
Figures & Tables
The first notions of a new journal came to J. E. Spurr during the closing days of 1904. When he shared his thoughts with friends in Washington, D. C., they were so enthusiastic about the suggestion that they formed themselves into an ad-hoc committee to seek ways to implement the idea. The ad-hoc group met informally for several months and by May of the following year was ready to announce the birth of an unusual new publishing company and the journal the company would produce. The first formal meeting of the Economic Geology Publishing Company took place on May 16, 1905. The first issue of the new journal appeared in October of the same year, and the first volume was completed in December 1906. The birthing was not easy, but it was successful because the founders provided much of the financing as well as the first papers. The story of those earliest days and the many struggles of the fledgling journal is engagingly recounted by Alan M. Bateman in an article published in the Fiftieth Anniversary volume.
From inception, management of the journal has differed from the management of most scientific journals. There was no sponsoring society, so the founders raised capital by incorporating and selling shares in the venture. The journal has been owned and published by the Economic Geology Publishing Company ever since. There is no record that the founders experienced difficulties in selling shares in the Company, but they must have had some because the Publishing Company had a goal that other corporations(and presumably many of the investors) would have found difficulty in understanding: the new corporation was committed to keeping the books balanced but not to making a profit.
Initially incorporated in the District of Columbia, the Publishing Company was reincorporated in 1970 as a nonprofit membership corporation in Delaware. The modification in corporate status came in response to a suggestion made by the Internal Revenue Service.
The affairs of the Publishing Company are controlled by a Board of Directors, and the journal is sold to the public by direct subscription. Day-to-day operations of paper selection, review, and printing are in the hands of the Editor, while business matters, such as subscriptions and advertising, are in the hands of the Business Editor.
The one tie the Publishing Company has with a society was instituted many years after the journal. was founded—with the Society of Economic Geologists. When the Society was founded in 1920 it first considered publishing its own bulletin. Because the venture seemed financially questionable, and the coffers of the new society were bare, an arrangement was reached whereby members of the Society first received offPrints of papers written by its members and eventually Economic Geology as