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Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


Submarine geomorphology is the investigation of the form, processes and evolution of submarine landscapes. This field of research has strong basic and applied value. The seafloor is a vast reservoir of renewable and non-renewable resources, which include marine ecosystems, fisheries, hydrocarbons, freshwater, aggregates, deep sea minerals and blue energy, among others. Sound knowledge of seafloor geomorphology is key to maritime spatial planning, the designation of marine protected areas, the construction and operation of offshore infrastructure, and the implementation of environmental monitoring programmes. Seafloor processes constitute a geohazard to key offshore infrastructure and coastal communities. Technological progress has resulted in an explosion of knowledge that has radically transformed our view of the ocean and our planet in general. Nevertheless, the submarine realm still presents an important research frontier. The aim of this book is to present the state-of-the-art in the standard data and methods used in submarine geomorphology, to introduce the most significant submarine landforms and the processes that form them, and to highlight the applied value of submarine geomorphology to industry and ocean governance based on selected examples. This book is written for anybody with an interest in submarine geomorphology, although it is primarily aimed for undergraduate and graduate students, and professionals with limited training in submarine geomorphology.

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    In the early years of their cooperation, Bruce C. Heezen used to collect the data aboard the research vessels while Marie Tharp drew the maps, as women were excluded from seagoing activities at that time. It was only in 1965 that Marie Tharp was able to join a data collection expedition. As quoted in “The Floor of the Sea” by William Wertenbaker (1974), Bruce Heezen related the following story concerning the realisation that a rift valley existed in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: “Maries job for me was to decide what a structure was… In three of the transatlantic profiles she noticed an unmistakable notch in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and she decided they were a continuous rift valley and told me. I discounted it as girl talk and didn’t believe it for a year”. “Marie was the grand dame of ocean exploration,” said Bill Ryan, Doherty Senior Scholar at Lamont-Doherty and a long-time colleague of Tharp’s. “She didnt just make maps; she understood how the Earth works”.


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Correspondence to Aaron Micallef .

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Micallef, A., Krastel, S., Savini, A. (2018). Introduction. In: Micallef, A., Krastel, S., Savini, A. (eds) Submarine Geomorphology. Springer Geology. Springer, Cham.

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