Journal of Marine Sciences ›› 2023, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (4): 46-56.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1001-909X.2023.04.005

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Deep-sea rare earth resource potential in the Eastern Pacific Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone: Constraint from sediment geochemistry

WU Xinran(), DONG Yanhui, LI Zhenggang, WANG Hao, ZHANG Weiyan, LI Huaiming, LI Xiaohu, CHU Fengyou()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences, Second Institute of Oceanography, MNR, Hangzhou 310012, China
  • Received:2023-04-21 Revised:2023-06-01 Online:2023-12-15 Published:2024-01-30


Deep-sea sediments have attracted much more attention in recent years because of their potential resources for rare earth elements plus Yttrium (REY). However, the host minerals and enrichment mechanism of REY in deep-sea sediments, and the spatial distribution characteristics and metallogenic regularity of the REY-rich sediments are still unclear. The Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) in the East Pacific is the most important polymetallic nodule metallogenic belt, and its potential of REY resources has not been well evaluated. In this study, the whole-rock geochemistry (728 groups of major elements and 625 groups of trace elements) of sediments from 125 stations in the west CCZ over an area of 27 800 km2 was analyzed. The results show that the sediments in the study area are significantly rich in MnO, P2O5 and REY than those from Australian shales and global subducting sediments. Spatially, ∑REY has a positive correlation with P2O5, CaO, and Ce negative anomalies, indicating that calcium apatite is the main host minerals of REY. The average value of ∑REY in the sediments over the study area is 470±202 μg/g, some samples meet the criteria of REY-rich sediments (∑REY>700 μg/g), indicating that the study area has a certain potential of REY resources. Spatial interpolation analysis shows that REY-rich sediments are mainly distributed in the northern area characterized by hilly terrain, while they are poorer in the southern basin with flat terrain. The difference of geomorphology in the study area affects the regional deposition rate and the hydrodynamic sorting of calcium apatite, leading to the north-south zoning of REY resources distribution in the study area.

Key words: deep-sea sediments, rare earth elements and Y (REY), calcium apatite, resource potential, Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ)

CLC Number: