A radioisotope energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) system has been used on board the German research vessel “Valdivia” during an exploration expedition in the northern equatorial Pacific in 1973. The instrumentation used consisted of an X-ray detection system incorporating a 30 mm2 effective-area Si (Li) detector with a measured energy resolution of 195 eV for Mn Kα X-rays, standard nuclear electronics, a 1024-channel analyser and a data read-out unit. The X-ray spectra in the manganese-nodule samples were excited by a 30-mCi 238Pu source. The six elements Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn were analysed on board. Precision values for the analyses were less than 3% for Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu and Zn and about 5% for Co. A total amount of 350 analyses was carried out during a one-month cruise. Average contents of 190 analysed whole manganese-nodule samples from all the sampling sites of the covered area were 23.3% Mn, 6.7% Fe, 0.23% Co, 1.16% Ni, 0.94% Cu and 0.10% Zn. The average content of the base metals expressed as the sum of the Co, Ni, Cu and Zn contents was 2.48%. A linear relationship between Mn and Ni in all analysed samples, including whole manganese-nodule samples, zones of manganese nodules and manganese crusts, was observed. The Mn/Ni ratio calculated by regression analysis was 23.0. Zonal variations of the chemical contents of the six elements in the manganese nodules were found. A size classification of the manganese nodules has been suggested. Geochemical correlations of Cu and Ni versus Mn/Fe in the investigated samples are given.
Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 1974, Vol 3, Issue 4, p. 303-317