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The continental crust extends in a brittle manner in its upper part and in more distributed (ductile) manner in its lower part. During exhumation of HP metamorphic rocks, brittle features superimpose on earlier ductile ones as a result of the progressive localization of deformation. The islands of Tinos and Andros are part of the numerous metamorphic core complexes exhumed in the Aegean domain. They illustrate two steps of a gradient of finite extension along a transect between Mt. Olympos and Naxos. This study confirms the main role of boudinage as an initial localizing factor at the brittle–ductile transition and emphasizes the continuum of strain from ductile to brittle during exhumation. Early low-angle semi-brittle shear planes superimpose onto precursory ductile shear bands, whereas steeply dipping late brittle planes develop by progressive steepening of structures or sliding across en echelon arrays of veins. The comparison between Tinos and Andros allows us to propose a complete dynamic section of the Aegean extending continental crust and emphasizes that the strain localization process depends on both its rheological stratification and its compositional heterogeneity.

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