The Arosa zone forms a melange complex along the Penninic/Austroalpine boundary and belongs to the main Alpine suture zone. Accretion and plate collision occurred during Cretaceous and lower Tertiary time. A mixture of ophiolitic rocks and pelagic sediments is imbricated with flysch and blocks of Austroalpine (continental) derivation. We present a description of deformation structures, an analysis of strain, and a kinematic interpretation based on structural work. Deformation histories of imbricates show a translation path that was west-directed between ca. 110 and 50 Ma and north-directed thereafter. The kinematics of the Arosa zone agrees with the recently deduced displacement history of the Austroalpine units in the Eastern Alps during the Cretaceous orogeny. This calls for a predominantly top-to-the-west imbrication of Austroalpine and Penninic units and is in contradiction to what is inferred in most models of the Eastern Alps. A direct relation between the deformation along the Austroalpine margin and relative plate motion existed.

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