Story: Marine minerals

Polymetallic nodules

Polymetallic nodules

These nodules or bumps are on the sea floor south of New Zealand. They have formed over millions of years as minerals precipitated from the water around sea-floor detritus (such as shark teeth, whale ear bones, and pebbles). The nodules contain the valuable metals iron, manganese, copper, cobalt and nickel. In the Pacific Ocean they are abundant in deep ocean basins. They occur irregularly at depths greater than 4,000 metres. The potato-sized nodules are brown to bluish-black bumps with a dull lustre.

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NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

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How to cite this page:

Ian Wright, 'Marine minerals - Nodules, crusts and vents', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 January 2022)

Story by Ian Wright, published 12 Jun 2006