Detailed mapping, structural analysis and cross-section constructions yield new data on the geometry and chronology of Variscan and Alpine deformations in the central Pyrenees of southern Andorra. The study area is characterized by polyphase deformation and strain partitioning owing to the presence of an efficient décollement level within Silurian black shales. Variscan macrostructures gave rise to a minimum shortening of c. 22% for Cambrian–Ordovician and Upper Ordovician units below the décollement level and of c. 35% for Silurian and Devonian units above it. Variscan structures are cut by out-of-sequence thrusts, presumably developed after late Variscan igneous intrusions, and extensional faulting. These thrusts cut previous Variscan D2 (main-phase) folds and originate additive and subtractive contacts. We propose an Alpine age for most of these thrusts, which, together with the Variscan structures, are affected by subsequent Alpine deformation, which causes changes in their orientation around the intrusions, and a progressive steepening of the cleavage from south to north. We discuss the usefulness and limitations of balanced cross-sections in polydeformed areas and propose that the technique is valid to construct regional sections and to obtain geologically reasonable pre-deformational configurations.

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