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Strain and vorticity analysis of two Late Palaeozoic high-strain zones from the southern Appalachian Piedmont indicates that these zones experienced general shear transpression with a monoclinic to triclinic symmetry. Granitic rocks in the Brookneal high-strain zone from the southwestern Virginia Piedmont were transformed into mylonites under greenschist facies conditions. Sectional strains, estimated from quartz grain shapes, in mylonites range from three to ten and three-dimensional fabrics record flattening strains. The mean vorticity number (Wm) estimated with the Rs/θ method ranges from 0.3 to 0.95. In the central Virginia Piedmont, lower amphibolite facies deformation in the Spotsylvania high-strain zone affected biotite gneisses, amphibolites, and granitic pegmatites. Minimum sectional strains, estimated from folded and boudinaged pegmatite dykes, of 8–20 are common and three-dimensional strains are dominantly constrictional. Porphyroclast hyperbolic distribution analysis of ultramylonites yields Wn values from 0.4 to 0.8. The kinematic significance of these transpressional high-strain zones is threefold: they record tens to hundreds of kilometres of strike-slip offset; 40 to 70% contraction normal to the zone; and significant orogen-parallel material elongation.

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