- Tokyo Geographical Society
- 地学雑誌 (ISSN:0022135X)
- vol.87, no.4, pp.181-200, 1978-08-25 (Released:2009-11-12)
Ocean floor manganese nodules have attracted worldwide attention as the possible future resources. However, many problems in the distribution and origin of the nodules remain still unsolved, because of the lack in reliable seabed information. Thus, several leading ocean-oriented countries are now carrying out, or have plans about the systematic research programs on manganese nodules, including both prospectings mainly by industry groups, and scientific studies by the governmental and university groups, in which the results of the latter scientific studies are expected to serve as the guideline for the former prospectings. The representative programs are as follows : In Japan, “Basic researches on the deep sea mineral resources” is being conducted by the Geological Survey of Japan, for the northern Central Pacific Basin, using R/V Hakurei-Maru (1, 821 tonnage), with participation of the NIPR (National Institute for Pollution and Resources) in each cruise on their own program, “Technological study on the development of deep sea mineral resources”. Also, the industries group, DOMA (Deep Ocean Minerals Association), is engaged in a program of “Development of new prospecting technology for manganese nodule deposits”, with the objective areas south of Hawaii Islands of the Pacific.In the United States, there are three categories of research programs, being actively conducted by the groups of universities, Federal organizations, and industries respectively. The first is “MANOP (Manganese Nodule Program) of NSF (National Science Foundation) Seabed Assesment Program, carried out by the interuniversities group. This is now concentrated on the detailed studies of the sea floor to obtain its real physical, geochemical and biological informations by means of the in-situ measurement instruments, deployed in each representative area of different sedimentological condition of the Pacific. The second is “DOMES (Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Studies)” of the Office of the Marine Minerals, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), in which the research groups from the Federal organizations such as NOAA and U.S. Geological Survey are in charge of conducting its geological aspects. The third are the programs of the industry groups related to the commercial development of manganese nodules, including prospecting, mining and processing. Four major international consortiums, Deepsea Ventures Group (OMA, Ocean Mining Association), INCO Group (OMI, Ocean Management Inc.), Kennecott Group (Kennecott Exploration), and Lockeed Gr oup (OMC, Ocean Minerals Co.) are now developing their programs, aiming at mining operation tests in the Pacific as immediate objectives.In West Germany, a program, “Researches on manganese nodules”, is actively promoted under the coordination and sponcering of the Ministry of Research and Technology, with participation of the Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources, universities and industries association (AMR, Arbeitsgemeinschaft meerestechnisch gewinbare Rostoffe), using R/V Valdivia (1, 317 tonnage), for the objective areas between Clarion and Clipperton fracture zones of the Pacific.In France, CNEXO (Centre National pour L'Exploitation des Oceans) and its research group, AFERNOD (Association Francais d'Étude et de Recherche des Nodules océaniques) are carrying out “Rsearches on polymetallic (manganese) nodules”, mostly for the southern Central Pacific Basin.In England, a research group has done recently some research cruises on the manganese nodules and metalliferous sediments for the Indian Ocean.