This handbook is vital for understanding the origin of deep-water sandstones, emphasizing sandy-mass transport deposits (SMTDs) and bottom-current reworked sands (BCRSs) in petroleum reservoirs. This cutting-edge perspective, a pragmatic alternative to the conventional turbidite concepts, is crucial because the turbidite paradigm is built on a dubious foundation without empirical data on sandy turbidity currents in modern oceans. In the absence of evidence for sandy turbidity currents in natural environments, elegant theoretical models and experimental observations of turbidity currents are irrelevant substitutes for explaining the origin of sandy deposits as "turbidites." In documenting modern and ancient SMTDs (sandy slides, sandy slumps, and sandy debrites) and BCRSs (deposits of thermohaline [contour] currents, wind-driven currents, and tidal currents), the author describes and interprets core and outcrop (1:20 to 1:50 scale) from 35 case studies worldwide (which include 32 petroleum reservoirs), totaling more than 10,000 m in cumulative thickness, carried out during the past 36 years (1974-2010). The book dispels myths about the importance of sea level lowstand and provides much-needed clarity on the triggering of sediment failures by earthquakes, meteorite impacts, tsunamis, and cyclones with implications for the distribution of deep-water sandstone petroleum reservoirs.

Key Features

  • Promotes pragmatic interpretation of deep-water sands using alternative possibilities
  • Validates the economic importance of  SMTDs and BCRS in deep-water exploration and production
  • Rich in empirical data and timely new perspectives 


Undergraduate and graduate students, academics, researchers, and professional petroleum geoscientists

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 What is deep water?
1.2 Flawed turbidite paradigm
1.3 New perspectives: SMTDs and BCRS
1.4 Database
1.5 Scope and organization
1.6 Process sedimentology
1.7 Synopsis
2 Origin and classification of sandy mass-transport deposits
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Literature
2.3 Classification
2.4 Landslide vs. mass transport
2.5 Subaerial processes based on types of movement and material
2.6 Subaqueous processes based on mechanical behaviour
2.7 Subaqueous processes based on sediment-support mechanism
2.8 Subaqueous processes based on process continuum
2.9 Subaqueous processes based on transport velocity
2.10 Synopsis
3 Recognition of sandy mass-transport deposits
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Sandy slide
3.3 Sandy slump
3.4 Sandy debrite
3.5 Origin of massive sandstone
3.6 Problems with interpretation of wireline logs
3.7 Problems with interpretation of seismic facies
3.8 Problems with interpretation of seismic sinuous geometry
3.9 Synopsis
4 Bottom-current reworked sands
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Surface currents, deep-water masses, and bottom currents
4.3 Bottom currents vs. turbidity currents
4.4 Genetic nomenclature 
4.5 Thermohaline-induced geostrophic bottom currents
4.6 Wind-driven bottom currents
4.7 Deep-water tidal bottom currents
4.8 Baroclinic Currents (Internal tides)
4.9 Problematic bedform-velocity matrix for deep-water bottom currents
4.10 Problems with interpretation of seismic facies and geometries
4.11 Synopsis
5 Initiation of deep-water sediment failures
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Short-term triggering events
5.3 Intermediate-term triggering events
5.4 Long-term triggering events
5.5 Synopsis
6 Implications for deep-water sandstone reservoirs
6.1 Grain-size distribution
6.2 Dimensions and geometries
6.3 Long-runout MTD
6.4 Turbidites vs. Debrites
6.5 Turbidites vs. Tidalites
6.6 SMTD an


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© 2012
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the editor

G. Shanmugam

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Texas, Arlington, TX 76019, U.S.A. 1