Abstract

A large deposit of ferromanganese oxide coated sands and scattered manganese nodules occurs in the northern portion of Lake Ontario. The Mn and Fe contents of the concretions are similar to those in concretions from other environments, while their Ni, Cu, and Co contents are lower than in deep-sea nodules, but higher than in most previously described lacustrine concretions. Pb and Zn are high in the coatings and exceed the concentrations found in many previously analyzed Mn deposits. Within the deposit, Mn, Ni, Co, and Zn contents are correlated, and they vary inversely with Fe. Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Pb are present in the interstitial waters of the sediments underlying the deposit in higher concentrations than in the overlying lake waters, thus providing a potential source of metals for concretion formation.

The origin and compositional variations in the deposit possibly can be explained in terms of the fractionation and precipitation of Fe and Mn as a result of redox variations in the lake sediments. Eh increases from south to north across the deposit in such a way that iron may be selectively oxidized and precipitated in the south and manganese, in the north. The upward diffusion of Mn, Fe, and associated elements from the underlying sediments probably provides the principal source of the metals in the south of the deposit, while metal-enriched bottom waters are probably the principal source in the north.

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