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BookReviews

Deep Marine Environments" Clastic Sedimentation and


Tectonics
K. T. Pickering, R. N. Hiscott and F. J. Hein
Unwin Hyman Ltd, London; 1989; 416 pp;
ISBN: 0 04 551122 5; 0 04 445201 2 (softcover); Price: hardback, 75.00; softcover,
29.95
Kevin Pickering and his co-authors are to be congratulated on This case study approach, using both modern and ancient
this very fine, state of the art, specialist sedimentology text. It examples, is an attractive feature of the book, although it
is the result of several years of hard work and arises, of does appear to have detracted from more general synthesis.
course, out of many more years of careful research work by Part 3 (Chapters 10-12) sets these elements of the deep
all three authors into deep marine sedimentation. marine environment into their plate tectonic setting, with the
Following a brief historical introduction, the book is three most interesting chapters on evolving and mature
divided into three parts. Part 1 (Chapters 2 - 4 ) deals with passive margins, active convergent margins and oblique-slip
depositional processes, facies and controls in the deep sea. continental margins. The approach for these chapters is again
The data on processes provide a good summary of our current one of well documented case studies.
knowledge, the facies are carefully documented with well In summary, Deep Marine Environments is a well written
chosen illustrations, and the chapter on controls gives a useful book that will be welcomed by all researchers in the field of
summary but is, in my opinion, rather slight and less thought- deep sea sediments, not least for its enormous reference list.
provoking than it might have been. Certainly, as the authors and publishers claim, it should also
Part 2 (Chapters 5 - 9 ) examines the range of deep marine be of interest to undergraduates taking specialist courses and
sedimentary environments with a chapter each on slope to professional geologists in the hydrocarbon or other sectors.
systems (aprons and slope basins), channel systems, sub- Except for Part 1, the reader should not expect great or
marine fans, sheet systems (abyssal plains, trench and arc revealing syntheses of the subjects dealt with but, rather, a
basins) and contourite drifts. Clearly, this has been one of the series of case study presentations. My only other complaint
most difficult parts of the book to write, especially in achiev- would be the figures; too many and some in completely the
ing a balance between comprehensive coverage, specific case wrong size or shape. However, these are minor criticisms of a
studies and author synthesis. To some extent, the individual valuable book.
authors have chosen slightly different approaches for 'their'
chapters, although there is generally an emphasis on the
factors controlling sedimentation and development of the D. A. V. Stow
system and, in every instance, a good range of case studies. Southampton, UK

Geological Evolution of South-east Asia


Charles S, Hutchison
Oxford University Press; 1989; ISBN 0 19 854439 1; Price 70.00; XV + 368pp
In his preface Charles Hutchison explains that this book is not in only 40 pages the description of each is necessarily brief.
intended as a standard regional geology but is instead his Hutchison's approach is to classify the basins according to
personal interpretation of the region. He is certainly well their plate-tectonic setting and he recognizes 11 classes.
qualified for the task he has undertaken, having steeped However, he acknowledges that the use of a term to classify a
himself in the geology of South-east Asia over a 30 year basin does not necessarily mean that we understand its origin:
period while on the staff of the University of Malaya. Around in many cases terms like back-arc basin, cratonic basin, etc.,
800 references are cited and this must surely be the most are more geographically descriptive than related to their
comprehensive account yet of this large and complex region. genesis.
After a brief introduction which reviews country by country Heat-flow characteristics are mentioned from one basin to
the history of geological studies in South-east Asia, the another and a pattern of high geothermal gradients is evident
second chapter is devoted to a description of the Late in basins developed on Sundaland with low gradients
Mesozoic and Cainozoic tectonic features of the region. The occurring in more oceanic and volcanic arc basins. Had
areas of oceanic crust are described and their probable origins Hutchison been a petroleum geologist he may have been
are discussed; the region's marginal seas are examined, as are tempted to correlate this pattern with the distribution of
its active plate margins and the 17 microcontinents which dot hydrocarbon fields in the region; or could it be that just as
the region. These fragments are generally agreed to have important in determining their distribution is the nature of
rifted off the margin of one or other of the two major the basin fill? But, again, the author leaves it to the reader to
continental plates, Sundaland and Australia, and have either seek his own correlation - - on the face of it those basins
become embedded in now largely stable blocks such as which have received the greatest proportion of volcanic-
Borneo or else are still on their different conveyor belts. derived sediment appear to be the least productive.
Reminding the reader of Wallace's Line, Hutchison draws a As I think back nearly 20 years to the protests which were
geological boundary through the middle of Sulawesi, pointing raised against the suggestion that the continental core of
out that all terrains to the east of it were previously remote South-east Asia may have originally been part of
from South-east Asia and have drifted northwards to their Gondwanaland, I smile as I read how warmly that notion has
present positions over the last 90 Ma. Rounding off this now been embraced. The concept has of course evolved as
chapter, the fault systems of South-east Asia are introduced, more geological data have been gathered and the author
testing ideas on block movements against the available devotes nearly half of this book to describing the Palaeozoic
palaeomagnetic evidence but rightly concluding that many and Mesozoic rocks and their relationships, which provide the
problems and inconsistencies remain to be solved. evidence for early super-continent connections. Inevitably it
Staying with the relatively recent history of the region, means concentrating on the continental core of South-east
Chapter 3 is an account of its Cainozoic sedimentary basins. It Asia at the expense of the younger oceanic accretions.
is this part of the book on which the petroleum geologist is Central to Hutchison's reconstruction is the Mesozoic
likely to wish to concentrate, although with 71 basins covered suture which has been traced from northern Thailand to the

Marine and Petroleum Geology, 1991, Vol 8, February 115