Generation of thick megabreccias along carbonate platforms apparently relies on the establishment of overpressured zones in the margin and upper slope deposits (particularly during relative sea-level lowstands), but the main triggering mechanism is thought to be seismic tremors. Here, we present a detailed sedimentological analysis of carbonate density-flow deposits south and north of the Mattinata Fault, a major strike-slip fault zone in the Gargano Promontory (Italy). The analysis shows that in the southern sector the deposits of Albian–Cenomanian age (Monte S. Angelo Formation) are made up predominantly of thick and amalgamated debrites (megabreccias), whereas some 25 km to the north they are composed predominantly of prograding high-density turbidites. Moreover, detailed analysis of Maastrichtian slope deposits (Monte Acuto Limestones) from the southern sector shows that they make up a N–S-prograding system of coalesced lobes composed of high-density turbidites and subordinate debrites. We infer that preconditional factors (e.g., platform progradation, tectonic oversteepening, and high pore pressures in the margin and upper-slope deposits) for triggering the density flows varied along strike of the platform, but the main controlling factors were the activity of the prominent strike-slip Mattinata Fault and the propagation of tremor energy to its near- and far-field regions: large earthquakes triggered thick (up to 40 m) and amalgamated Albian–Cenomanian debrites in proximity (south of) to the fault, whereas the subdued effect of the tremors triggered thinner debrites (5–10 m) and rock falls in the far-field region north of the fault. Moreover, predominantly high-density turbidite deposits were emplaced in the far-field region during lower-magnitude earthquakes. During the Maastrichtian the thick succession of high-density turbidites and scattered thick debrites south of and adjacent to the Mattinata Fault may record an overall quiescent period of the fault. The results are of relevance for understanding the spatiotemporal distribution of density-flow deposition along carbonate platforms in tectonically active regions—in particular with respect to the activity of large strike-slip faults.

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