A new sequence of Variscan deformations is proposed for the Palaeozoic rocks of the Central Pyrenees. The non-metamorphic units include south-directed thrust systems and related folds with a poorly developed cleavage. In the metamorphic units north-verging, recumbent to inclined folds (Dl), associated with a subhorizontal to south dipping cleavage, are refolded by south-verging, upright to inclined folds (D2), with a subvertical to north-dipping axial plane cleavage, and offset by south-directed thrusts approximately coeval with D2. The structural evolution of these units suggests a subdivision of the Variscan Central Pyrenees into two different regions consistent with the zones known for a long time in the core of the Ibero-Armorican or Asturian arc (northern part of the Iberian Variscan Massif). The structure of the Pyrenean non-metamorphic units has foreland affinities and is comparable to that of the Cantabrian Zone, whereas the deformation observed in the Pyrenean metamorphic units is characteristic of the hinterland and is consistent with the features of the West Asturian-Leonese Zone or Central-Iberian Zone. Since the Pyrenean non-metamorphic units are located southwards of the metamorphic ones and the Variscan thrusts are south-directed, we tentatively correlate the Variscan Pyrenees with the northern branch of the Ibero-Armorican or Asturian arc. © The Geological Society of London 2011.
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