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We develop a method for constraining the kinematics and finite strain of deformation in shear zones based on a three-dimensional numerical model of the rotation populations of rigid clasts. The results of the model are characterized in terms of a fabric ellipsoid, which is directly measurable from field data. Fabric ellipsoids measured from populations of prolate clasts have anisotropies that increase steadily and plateau; the shape of the fabric ellipsoid becomes increasingly more prolate with progressive deformation. The behaviour of populations of oblate clasts is much more complex because the stability of individual oblate clasts depends on their aspect...

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