50  Nickel in seawater

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Nickel ore is transported into the oceans by river water. Conclusions can be drawn regarding the age of the oceans based on the quantity of nickel added annually and the current nickel content of the seas. Here, we note that according to the present processes it would have taken a maximum of 300,000 years to achieve the present nickel content. Since no mechanism is known which removes nickel from seawater, it is not realistic to assume that our oceans are many millions of years old.

The following initial data is known:

a) On average, the rivers of the Earth carry 0.3 micrograms of nickel per litre of water into the sea (1).

b) The total quantity of water flowing into the sea from rivers and streams is 37,400 km³ annually on average.

c) The average nickel content of seawater is 1.7 micrograms per litre (2).

d) The quantity of water in the seas is 1.35 x 10^21 kg (3).

e) It is estimated that there are 2 x 10^14 kg of manganese nodules at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, containing 0.63 percent nickel (4).

From these figures, it is possible to calculate the maximum time required to reach the current nickel contents based on the present processes. In order to calculate the highest age possible, it is assumed that there initially was no nickel present in ocean water or in the manganese nodules. Moreover, the interstellar dust from space, which also added nickel to the seas, is ignored.

Even under these circumstances, the maximum age that can be calculated for the Earth is only 300,000 years. Since no known mechanism can remove nickel from seawater, it is not possible to imagine a sea which is several million or even billion years old. If there was actually some sort of a worldwide flood which literally washed out the continents, it would be necessary to reduce again this figure of 300,000 years drastically.

Concerning the manganese nodules, the lime sludge which is deposited at the bottom of the oceans amounts to 1,000 to 10,000 times more than the manganese nodules. This means that the manganese nodules visible today should have been covered long ago, if the age calculated above is correct (5). The argument that the lime sludge covering the manganese nodules is continuously removed is hardly viable, because corresponding deposits cannot be found.

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(1) W.H. Durum und J. Haffty, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 27, 1963, page 2., D.A. Livingstone, Chemical composition of rivers and lakes, Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1963, page 48.
(2) Chemical Oceanography, Hg. von J.P. Riley & G. Skirrow, New York, Academic Press, Vol. 1, 1975, 2. Auflage, page 418.
(3) Hg. von J.P. Riley & G. Skirrow, page 2
(4) Eugen Seibold und Wolfgang H. Berger, The sea floor, Springer Berlin, 1996, pages 289 & 293.
(5) Eugen Seibold und Wolfgang H. Berger, page 291.

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