This work discusses the stratigraphy and facies analysis of the Ranzano Sandstone, in the northern Apennines (Italy), a confined low-efficiency turbidite system deposited in a series of small piggy-back basins, which show strong analogieswith intraslopeminibasins commonly observed in divergentmargins. The detailed physical stratigraphy of these deposits, which are the counterpart of the Annot Sandstone of the classic “Trilogie Priabonienne” cropping out in thewestern Alps, shows a cross-current asymmetrical distribution of the facies related to basin morphology. In an E-W oriented transect, roughly perpendicular to the general paleocurrents directed towards SSW, coarse-grained amalgamated massive sandstones that onlap against the eastern basin margin, grade towards the west, over very short distances, into a stratigraphic succession dominated by coarse-grained sandstones reworked in megaripples. This westward lateral facies change is also associated with: a) progressive deviation of the megaripple paleocurrents towards the west, b) progressive eastward increase in the sandstone/mudstone ratio, impact flow structures and beds with mudstone clasts, and c) progressive westward decrease in bed thickness characterizing massive facies. This cross-current transition is interpreted as related to bipartite turbidity currents experiencing deceleration against a relatively steeper eastern margin, producing flowdecoupling and consequent bypass of upper turbulent flows that can spread out towards the less steep western bounding slope. The lateral spreading of turbulent flows causes reworking of the coarsegrained massive facies, producing tractive structures that indicate westward flow divergence. The lack of medium, fine-grained sands and mud testifies that these grain sizes must have been transported by turbulent flows into another adjacent basin, allowing the described deposits to be interpreted as recording a “flow stripping” phase as found in the ponded intraslope basins of the Gulf of Mexico and other confined settings, such as wedge-top basins and inner foredeeps.
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