Contourites

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Contourites are sediments deposited or substantially reworked by bottom currents. The study of contourites is nowadays crucial for several fields of fundamental and applied research: palaeoclimatology and paleoceanography, 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 favoured by weak bottom currents, whereas 'clean' deep-sea sands may be formed by robust flows; 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 nonspecialists. 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. This book reviews both theoretical topics and case histories. It provides practical advice on multidisciplinary research techniques. It also provides also nonspecialist users with an intuitively-accessible, cross-referenced, and comprehensive coverage of the knowledge in the field. It presents a helpful tool for research in the preparation of classroom lectures.