Gravity flows may be triggered by different initiation processes in both marine and lacustrine basins. Recognizing the different initiation processes of gravity flow based on their deposits is vital to accurately establish gravity-flow sandstone distribution, which is important for defining paleogeography and for efficient oil and gas exploration. Gravity-flow deposits in the Dongying sag were analyzed using three-dimensional seismic, well-log, grain size, and porosity and permeability data, along with core descriptions. Eleven lithofacies, nine bed types, and six bed-type associations were recognized in the gravity-flow deposits in the Dongying sag. Gravity-flow deposits around well Niu-110 were caused by delta-fed sediment failure. These deposits are characterized by medium to very fine-grained sandstone, abundant liquefaction and soft-sediment deformation structures, and thick laminae rich in plant debris. They formed massive sandstones accompanied by normally graded sandstone and lenticular-shaped sandbodies and are composed of chaotic deposits and tongue lobes. The above features collectively are indicative of typical collapsed-sediment transport to deep water by slumping and poorly cohesive debris flow to low-density turbidity current. Gravity-flow deposits around well Shi-100 are interpreted to have been caused by flooding river-fed hyperpycnal flows. These deposits are characterized by gravel to very fine-grained sand, abundant erosional structures and climbing ripples, and thin laminae rich in plant debris. They formed massive sandstone with some space stratification accompanied by inverse-then-normal grading sandstone and elongate or fan-shaped sandbodies and are composed of channel-levee systems and lobes. Stratified hyperpycnal flow is prone to form a hydraulic jump at the slope break. After the hydraulic jump, coarse-grained sediments were transported to the basin under the drag and shear of the upper part of the suspension flow. Gravity-flow deposits caused by flooding river-fed hyperpycnal flow are better reservoirs than those caused by delta-fed sediment failure under the same conditions. This study offers insight into the recognition criteria and flow processes of gravity flows caused by the different initiation processes in a lacustrine basin.

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