Contourites are a widespread but poorly known group of sediments linked to the action of powerful bottom currents in deep water. Although we know they are especially common along continental margins and through oceanic gateways, they have been surrounded by the controversy since they were first recognized in the early 1960s. Where correctly recognized and decoded they can provide one of the keys to our better understanding of bottom water circulation and of the ocean-climate link. They are part of the spectrum of deposits that confronts the oil industry as exploration moves into progressively greater water depths.
This memoir is an important outcome of the International Geological Correlation Project 432 on Bottom Currents, Contourites and Paleocirculation. It includes 30 papers involving over 75 key scientists from around the world. Following an introductory state-of-the-art paper by the editors, there are 25 separate case studies on modern drifts and four on ancient contourite series.
This volume is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Hollister (1936-1999), one of the founding fathers and pioneers of contourite research.