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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