The first profiles of Pr, Tb, Ho, Tm and Lu in the Pacific Ocean, as well as profiles of La, Ce, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd and Yb are reported. Concentrations of REE (except Ce) in the deep water are two to three times higher than those observed in the deep Atlantic Ocean. Surface water concentrations are typically lower than in the Atlantic Ocean, especially for the heavier elements Ho,Tm,Yb and Lu. Cerium is strongly depleted in the Pacific water column, but less so in the oxygen minimum zone. The distribution of the REE group is consistent with two simultaneous processes: (1) cycling similar to that of opal and calcium carbonate, and (2) adsorptive scavenging by settling particles and possibly by uptake at ocean boundaries. However, the first process can probably not be sustained by the low REE contents of shells, unless additional adsorption on surfaces is invoked. The second process, adsorptive scavenging, largely controls the oceanic distribution and typical seawater pattern of the rare earths. (author).