The past 20 years have seen extensive marine exploration work by the major industrialized countries. Studies have, in part, been concentrated on Pacific manganese nodule occurrences and on massive sulfides on mid-oceanic ridges. An international jurisdictional framework of the sea-bed mineral resources was negotiated by the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III). A most important outcome of this conference was the establishment of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of at least 200 nautical miles for all coastal states and the recognition of a deep-sea regime.
Mineral deposits in EEZ areas are fairly unknown; many areas need detailed mapping and mineral exploration, and the majority of coastal or island states with large EEZ areas have little experience in exploration for marine hard minerals. This book describes the systematic steps in marine mineral exploration. Such exploration requires knowledge of mineral deposits and models of their formation, of geophysical and geochemical exploration methods, and of data evaluation and interpretation methods. These topics are described in detail by an international group of authors. A short description is also given of marine research vessels, evaluation of marine exploration examples; and an overview is provided of the jurisdictional situation after UNCLOS III.