Analyses by atomic absorption spectrophotometry and spark-source mass spectrography of 25 basal metalliferous sediment units from widely spaced locations on the western flank of the East Pacific Rise show that the deposits are enriched relative to normal pelagic sediment in Fe, Mn, Ni, Cu, Pb, Zn, and many trace elements. The elements are partitioned differently between the various mineralogic constituents of the sediment, with Fe and Mn largely in separate phases and many of the remaining elements primarily associated with reducible ferromanganese oxide minerals but also with iron minerals and other phases. Most of the iron in the deposits is probably of volcanic origin, and much of the manganese and minor elements is derived from sea water. The bulk composition of the deposits varies with age; this is thought to be due to variations in the incidence of volcanic activity at the East Pacific Rise crest where the deposits were formed.

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