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Open AccessArticle

Estimation Accuracy and Classification of Polymetallic Nodule Resources Based on Classical Sampling Supported by Seafloor Photography (Pacific Ocean, Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, IOM Area)

Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, Department of Geology of Mineral Deposits and Mining Geology, AGH University of Science and Technology, 30-059 Cracow, Poland
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Minerals 2020, 10(3), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030263
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 11 March 2020 / Published: 14 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geology and Minerals)
The amount and accuracy of nodule resources estimation in the Pacific Ocean are among the main factors conditioning the future exploitation. The estimates are based on the results of classical, direct seafloor sampling. Due to the large distance between sampling sites, the accuracy of assessing nodule resources in small parts of the deposit is low. The accuracy can be increased by using a large number of seafloor photographs taken along the route of the research vessel performing classic sampling. The study conducted for a part of the area administered by Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (IOM) included: (i) determining a model of the relationship between nodule abundance and seafloor nodule coverage using statistical methods, (ii) assessing the accuracy of nodule resources estimation using a geostatistical kriging procedure, (iii) proposing a preliminary classification of resources referring to International Seabed Authority (ISA) classification standards as material for further discussion. It was found that achievement of high accuracy in the estimation of nodule resources (with relative standard error <5%) in blocks planned for annual exploitation based on direct sampling is difficult. While the use of seafloor photographs increases the accuracy of estimating nodule resources, this improvement is not radical due to the unfavorable, preferential arrangement of photographic data. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymetallic nodules; nodule abundance; variogram; resource classification; Clarion-Clipperton Zone polymetallic nodules; nodule abundance; variogram; resource classification; Clarion-Clipperton Zone
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Mucha, J.; Wasilewska-Błaszczyk, M. Estimation Accuracy and Classification of Polymetallic Nodule Resources Based on Classical Sampling Supported by Seafloor Photography (Pacific Ocean, Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, IOM Area). Minerals 2020, 10, 263.

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