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Anomalously high uranium contents in the sediment under Galapagos hydrothermal mounds

Abstract

The geochemical behaviour of uranium and thorium in metalliferous sediments and hydrothermal deposits has been widely studied and the main results have been summarised by Boström and Rydell1. These isotopes may be used to clarify how the metal-rich solutions are introduced into sediment cover and seawater. Using radiochemistry followed by α spectrometry, we have measured uranium concentrations as high as several hundred p.p.m., which must clearly be associated with ocean ridge thermal activity, in sediments interbedded between the basaltic basement and the green hydrothermal mud at DSDP Site 424. These high uranium concentrations indicate the path followed by the hydrothermal fluid which, debouching at the sediment–water interface, formed the green mud.

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