During the Brasiliano-pan-African orogeny, a complex continental-scale pattern of east-west transcurrent shear zones and northeast-trending fold belts formed in the northern and central Borborema province of northeastern Brazil. The east-west shear zones have been usually regarded as slightly younger features, but the study of the most spectacular case of intersection between these two structures, the Patos shear zone and the Seridó transpressional belt, leads to a different tectonic model. Satellite imagery and structural, petro-logical, and geophysical data support the interpretation that these structures (1) are in structural continuity and (2) formed simultaneously under amphibolite facies metamorphic conditions that led to partial melting. This suggests a model of strain transfer at the scale of the orogen: at the eastern end of the Patos east-west dextral shear zone, the strain that accommodated the relative motion of the northern block was transferred to the northeast-trending Seridó belt, where it resulted in folding, strike-slip faulting, and stretching parallel to the strike of the belt.

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