The Concept of Turbidites: Origin and Development
1999. "The Concept of Turbidites: Origin and Development", An Introduction to the Analysis of Ancient Turbidite Basins from an Outcrop Perspective, Emiliano Mutti, Roberto Tinterri, Eduard Remacha, Nicola Mavilla, Stefano Angella, Luca Fava
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Apart from a very short contribution by Migliorini (1943) on the deposits of submarine density currents — a milestone paper which was essentially ignored in subsequent literature probably because it was written in Italian -, the concept of turbidite sedimentation originated from the fundamental paper by Kuenen and Migliorini (1950) on “graded sandstone beds” resedimented by turbidity (density) currents. The paper was based on the ideas of Ph. H. Kuenen on turbidity currents developed through laboratory experiments and marine geologic observations and on C.I. Migliorini’s work on the Paleogene strata of the Scaglia and Macigno formations in the northern Apennines.
These new concepts led to a series of papers by Ph. H. Kuenen and his students and co-workers on turbidite strata of many ancient basin-fills during the 50’s, particularly in the northern Apennines, Carpathians, Alps and California (see summary and references in Kuenen, 1964). Much of this work highlighted the deep-water nature of turbidites, their main sedimentary features, particularly grading and sole markings, and the importance of resedimentation processes through turbidity currents in technically active basins. The term “turbidites” was introduced by Kuenen (1957, p.231) following a verbal suggestion by C.P.M. Frijlinck.
By 1964, the number of papers dealing with turbidites had grown to 650 (see Kuenen and Humbert, 1964). It would be impossible to list the many thousands of papers that have discussed the different aspects of turbidite and turbidite-related sedimentation in both modern and ancient strata between 1964 and the end of this millenium. Needless to say, the concept has been among the greatest breakthroughs in sedimentary geology (see Friedman and Sanders, 1997).