The allochthonous terrain (Argille scagliose) overlying autochthonous Miocene sandstones in the northeast ranges and Oligocene sandstones in the central and southwest ranges is interpreted as a complex submarine gravity slide which originated in late Oligocene time west of the Tyrrhenian coast and arrived at the northeast margin of the northern Apennines at the end of the Miocene. The sliding occurred on slopes of a series of tectonic ridges which developed successively from southwest to northeast.

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