Exposed in the Coastal Range of eastern Taiwan is a portion of the Luzon volcanic arc that has collided with the South China continent since 6 Ma, as well as syn-orogenic sedimentary rocks deposited on the arc and subsequently intensely folded and thrusted. This study sampled syn-orogenic mudstones for the measurement of anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) at four sites on the sides of the range. The AMS fabrics reveal a contribution from burial compaction and, less significantly, tectonic shortening which varies slightly across the range. This lateral variation is considered as, for simplicity, a result of two-phase deformation because these rocks were involved in an eastward propagating back thrust system on the colliding arc. A new strain analysis method is developed to estimate the overall tectonic strain by unstraining the pseudo-strains with respect to the AMS measurements at each site with the knowledge about the distribution of the susceptibility ellipsoids in the unstrained state. Strain results reveal that shortening phases occurred before and after the folding, with a shortening ratio of 0.177–0.195 and 0.181–0.248, respectively. The post-folding shortening on the western side is sub-parallel to the range, and the pre-folding shortening on both sides is layer-parallel and nearly perpendicular to the range. Therefore, the mudstones underwent layer-parallel shortening, fold-related tilting and eventually orogen-parallel shortening after deposition. This sheds light on the complexity in deformation of the colliding Luzon arc.
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