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Abstract

Understanding of the processes operating on submarine slopes, the preserved depositional products and post-depositional modifications to sediment body geometries through instability and remobilization requires integration of data from modern slopes with information derived from seismic and outcrop studies of ancient slope successions. Although local factors are important, key generic concepts that aid in predicting submarine slope processes and products include: (1) shelf accommodation/lateral sediment supply variations on sediment delivery; (2) the spatial/temporal distribution of characteristic styles/intensities of sediment instability and remobilization; and (3) a generalized model for the stratigraphic development of slope channel complexes, slope fans and the temporal relationships between these major components of slope stratigraphy.

Key remaining problems include bridging the gap between the timescales sampled by Recent to late Quaternary studies and those represented by ancient slope successions. Moreover, present-day highstand conditions may not provide a good analogue for lowstand slope settings. Future research efforts will also concentrate on better calibration of seismic facies to rock facies and linking of physical and numerical (process and forward) modelling techniques at different scales to observational datasets. The future lies in integration of these complementary research directions.

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