All available quartz and biogenic silica concentrations from deep-sea surface sediments were intercalibrated, plotted, and contoured on a calcium-carbonate-free basis. The maps show highest concentrations of biogenic silica (opal) along the west African coast, along equatorial divergences in all oceans, and at the Polar Front in the southern Indian Ocean. These are all areas where upwelling is strong and there is high biological productivity. Quartz in pelagic sediments deposited far from land is generally eolian in origin. Its distribution reflects dominant wind systems in the Pacific, but in much of the Atlantic and Indian oceans the distribution pattern is strongly modified by turbidite deposition and bottom current processes.

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