Rare earth elements plentiful in ocean sediments

Economically vital metals could be mined from deep sea, Japanese geologists propose

By Devin Powell, 16:07 PM July 1, 2011

Mud at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean contains surprising concentrations of rare earth elements, 17 chemicals with exotic names like neodymium and europium that are critical to technologies ranging from cell phones and televisions to fluorescent light bulbs and wind turbines.

Hot plumes from hydrothermal vents pulled these materials out of seawater and deposited them on the seafloor, bit by bit, over tens of millions of years. One square patch of metal-rich mud 2.3 kilometers wide might co...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/rare-earth-elements-plentiful-ocean-sediments