• thrusting;
  • sheath folds;
  • high-pressure rocks;
  • exhumation;
  • Cycladic Massif;
  • Menderes Massif;
  • Aegean

In the central Aegean, the Cycladic island of Amorgos consists of two high-pressure (HP) units, the marble-rich Amorgos unit, which is correlated to the Mesozoic ‘cover’ sequence of the Menderes Massif, and the Cycladic Blueschist unit. New structural data show that the deformation history of the Amorgos HP-rocks was principally governed by early Oligocene (or late Eocene)–early Miocene ductile to brittle thrusting (D1–D3) followed by middle–late Miocene oblique contractional movements (D4–D5). The D1 phase caused syn-blueschist-facies ductile thrusting of the Cycladic Blueschist unit over the Amorgos unit, with ambiguous kinematics. Progressive deformation under continuous NW–SE compression produced a sequence of imbricate NW-directed thrusts (D2/3) characterized by a stratification of fault-related rocks, with mylonitic zones (D2) giving way downwards to cataclastic zones (D3). Ductile D2 thrusting synchronous to greenschist-facies retrogression, was accompanied by mega-sheath folding during constrictional and general shear deformation. Brittle D3 thrusting was associated with NW-verging F3 folds trending at a high-angle to the transport direction. Orthogonal contraction gave way to transpression during which the compression orientation changed from NW–SE (D4) to NE–SW (D5). Back-arc related NW–SE pure extension (D6) seems to have been established in post-late Miocene times and related high-angle normal faulting affected HP-rocks only after they had already reached the uppermost crustal levels. Oligocene–early Miocene deformation history is interpreted to indicate syn-compressional exhumation of HP-rocks possibly in an extrusion wedge. In this case, Amorgos HP-rocks should have occupied the base of the extrusion wedge. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.