The concentrations of scandium (Sc) in seawater, which have remained unreported since the early 1970s, were determined together with those of yttrium. (Y) and lanthanides (Ln) with samples from the north central Pacific Ocean (St. BO-3). The Sc concentration shows a so-called nutrient-like profile: it increases gradually from the surface (about 2 pmol/kg) to the ocean floor (about 20 pmol/kg). That pattern closely resembles those of Y and Ln (correlation coefficient (r) > 0.92). Some light-to-middle Ln (Pr-Tb) exhibit a closer correlation with Sc than do Y, La, or heavy Ln (Ho-Lu). In contrast, Y/Sc and Ln/Sc ratios (elemental abundance ratios) indicate that Sc is depleted compared to either Y or Ln in seawater more than in loess, which represents chemical compositions of crustal material. These observations offer a conflicting view of chemical reactivity related Y, Ln, and Sc: r values show that the chemical reactivity of Sc resembles those of Y and Ln, but differences of Y/Sc and Ln/Sc ratios in seawater and in loess suggest that the chemical reactivity of Sc differs from those of Y and Ln. More Sc data for seawater are necessary to clarify the chemical reactivity of Sc in the ocean. We also propose that comparative studies of vertical profiles of Sc and such elements as Fe, Ti, Zr, and Hf showing so-called nutrient-like profiles at the same oceanic stations would be helpful and effective for clarifying the behavior of Sc in the ocean.
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