Geochemistry and mineralogy of REY-rich mud in the eastern Indian Ocean

Kazutaka Yasukawa, Hanjie Liu, Koichiro Fujinaga, Shiki Machida, Satoru Haraguchi, Teruaki Ishii, Kentaro Nakamura, Yasuhiro Kato*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    97 Citations (Scopus)


    Deep-sea sediments in parts of the Pacific Ocean were recently found to contain remarkably high concentrations of rare-earth elements and yttrium (REY) of possible economic significance. Here we report similar REY-rich mud in a core section from Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 213 in the eastern Indian Ocean. The sediments consist mainly of siliceous ooze, with subordinate zeolitic clay that contains relatively high REY concentrations. The maximum and average total REY (σREY) contents of this material are 1113 and 629ppm, respectively, which are comparable to those reported from the Pacific Ocean. The REY-rich mud at Site 213 shows enrichment in heavy rare-earth elements, negative Ce anomalies, and relatively low Fe2O3/σREY ratios, similar to those in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, the major-element composition of the Indian Ocean REY-rich mud indicates slight enrichment in lithogenic components, which probably reflects a contribution from southern African eolian dust. A volcaniclastic component from neighboring mid-ocean ridges or intraplate volcanoes is also apparent. Elemental compositions and X-ray diffraction patterns for bulk sediment, and microscopic observation and elemental mapping of a polished thin section, demonstrate the presence of phillipsite and biogenic apatite, such as fish debris, in the REY-rich mud. The strong correlation between total REY content and apatite abundance implies that apatite plays an important role as a host phase of REY in the present deep-sea sediment column. However, positive correlations between σREY and elements not present in apatite (e.g., Fe2O3, MnO, and TiO2) imply that the REY-rich mud is not formed by a simple mixture of REY-enriched apatite and other components.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-36
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 15


    • Deep-sea sediment
    • Indian Ocean
    • Rare-earth elements
    • REY-rich mud

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth-Surface Processes
    • Geology


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