Global Circulation System
"REY-rich mud" and "ferromanganese nodules," mineral resources lying in the deep ocean, which is said to be the last frontier of mankind, are attracting attention as new resources that can support sustainable development of the society. The key to efficient exploration and development of these resources is to understand when, where, and how they bore. For this purpose, we are conducting research to clarify the material substance of frontier resources by microscopic analyses, and to determine their formation ages by microfossil and isotope analyses.
The mineral resources are the results of the circulation of various materials and the concentration of useful elements in “the global circulation system”, a complex interplay of the Earth’s components, including the atmosphere, oceans, continents, and living organisms. By finding the factors controling the formation of mineral resources in this huge and complex system, and constraining conditions suitable for the formation of the frontier resources, we can narrow down the exploration area and establish a new exploration guideline to efficiently find the frontier resources.
Mineral resources can be regarded as the "Earth's history book" that has recorded the evolution of the global material circulation system from the past to the present. In other words, examining the footprint of biological activities, and the consisting elements and substances in mineral resources enables us to learn the history of the Earth’s activities. To learn this, we conduct researches from all perspectives, including not only microscopic analysis, chemical composition and isotope analysis, but also fieldwork and data analysis.