Edited by

  • M. Rebesco, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica, Sgonico, Italy
  • A. Camerlenghi, ICREA, Istitució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats c/o GRC Geociències Marines Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Contourites are sediments deposited or substantially reworked by bottom currents. The study of contourites is crucial for several fields of fundamental and applied research: paleoclimatology and paleo-oceanography, since these fairly continuous and relatively high-resolution sediments hold the key for priceless information on the variability in circulation patter, current velocity, oceanographic history and basin interconnectivity; hydrocarbon exploration, since accumulation of source rocks may be favored by weak bottom currents, whereas "clean" deep-sea sands may be formed by robust flows; and slope stability, since low-permeability fine-grained contourites facilitate the formation of overpressurized gliding planes when fresh contourites with a high pore-water content becomes rapidly loaded, or when their rigid biosiliceous microfabric collapses due to diagenetic conditions. Despite its significance, this group of sediments is poorly known by the majority of non-specialists. Notwithstanding the growing interest and the intensified research in contourites, a textbook that might also serve as a reference book on contourites was missing until now. This book addresses all aspects of the knowledge in the field of contourites and provides an authoritative and comprehensive coverage of the subject. It also can serve as a standard reference work for non-specialists, and in particular postgraduate students, university teachers and lecturers, researchers and professionals who are seeking an authoritative source of information about contourites.
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oil companies, academic libraries servicing earth and environmental sciences departments, Government and public libraries.


Book information

  • Published: November 2008
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-52998-5

Table of Contents

Part 1. Contourite Research1. Introduction2. Personal reminiscences on the history of contourites3. Methods for contourite research
Part 2. Bottom currents4. Abyssal and contour currents5. Deep-water bottom currents and their deposits6. Dynamics of the bottom boundary layer
Part 3. Processes7. Sediment entrainment8. Size sorting during transport and deposition of fine sediments: sortable silt and flow speed9. The nature of contourite deposition
Part 4. Sediments10. Traction structures in contourites11. Bioturbation and biogenic sedimentary structures in contourites12. Some aspets of diagenesis in contourites13. Contourite facies and the facies model
Part 5. Morphology, geometry and palaeoceanographic reconstructions14. Contourite drifts: nature, evolution and controls15. Sediment waves and bedforms16. Seismic expression of contourite depositional systems17. Identification of ancient contourites: problems and paleoceanographic signifance
Part 6. Domains18. Abyssal plain contourites19. Continental slope contourites20. Shallow water contourites21. Mixed turbidite-contourite systems22. High latituted contourites
Part 7. Importance23. Economic relevance of contourites24. Paleoceanographic significance of contourite drifts25. The significance of contourites for submarine slope stability