Sulfide Deposits from the East Pacific Rise Near 21°N

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Science  28 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4438, pp. 1433-1444
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4438.1433

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Massive sulfide deposits were discovered from the diving saucer Cyana on the accreting plate boundary region of the East Pacific Rise near 21°N. The deposits form conical and tubular structures lying on a basaltic basement. Mineralogical and geochemical analyses showed two main types of intimately associated products: a polymetallic sulfide-rich material composed of pyrite and marcasite in association, zinc-rich phases, and copper-rich compounds, and an iron-rich oxide and hydroxide material (also called gossan) composed largely of goethite and limonite. Silicate phases such as opaline, silica, iron-silicon clay, and trace amounts of mica and zeolite are encountered in both types of material. Possible mechanisms for the formation of the sulfide deposits on the East Pacific Rise are discussed.