Significant contribution of subseafloor microparticles to the global manganese budget
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Ferromanganese minerals are widely distributed in subseafloor sediments and on the seafloor in oceanic abyssal plains. Assessing their input, formation and preservation is important for understanding the global marine manganese cycle and associated trace elements. However, the extent of ferromanganese minerals buried in subseafloor sediments remains unclear. Here we show that abundant (108–109 particles cm−3) micrometer-scale ferromanganese mineral particles (Mn-microparticles) are found in the oxic pelagic clays of the South Pacific Gyre (SPG) from the seafloor to the ~100 million-year-old sediments above the basement. Three-dimensional micro-texture, and major and trace element compositional analyses revealed that these Mn-microparticles consist of poorly crystalline ferromanganese oxides precipitating from bottom water. Based on our findings, we extrapolate that 1.5–8.8 × 1028 Mn-microparticles, accounting for 1.28–7.62 Tt of manganese, are globally present in oxic subseafloor sediments. This estimate is at least two orders of magnitude larger than the manganese budget for nodules and crusts on the seafloor. Subseafloor Mn-microparticles thus contribute significantly to the global manganese budget.
This study was supported in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Strategic Fund for Strengthening Leading-Edge Research and Development (to JAMSTEC and F.I.), the JSPS Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (GR102 to F.I.), JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (24687004 and 15H05608 to Y.M., 25871219 to G.-I.U., 15H02810 to R.W., 18H04134, 17H06458 and 17H04582 to Y.T., and 26251041 to F.I.), JSPS Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (14J00199 to G.-I.U.), and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) Fund Leading Initiative for Excellent Young Researchers (to Kochi University and G.-I.U.).
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