The Day Nui Con Voi (DNCV) metamorphic complex in North Vietnam is the southernmost high-grade metamorphic zone along the NW-SE trending Red River Shear Zone (RRSZ) in Indochina. The RRSZ was considered as a classical large-scale continental strike-slip fault that had played a significant role in the continental extrusion of Southeast Asia since the collision of India and Eurasia. Earlier ideas determined the RRSZ as a steep shear zone that penetrated the entire lithosphere. Both metamorphism and structures within rocks along the DNCV metamorphic complex have been previously thought to be formed syn-tectonically by left-lateral shearing of the RRSZ during the Oligocene-Miocene continental escape tectonics. However, our meso- and microstructural re-examination of this region shows that these metamorphic rocks were formed during earlier tectonic episodes unrelated to strike-slip shearing. High angle to near orthogonal overprinting fabrics indicated that this region recorded three episodes of ductile deformation followed by brittle faulting events with different intensity spanning from the Triassic to the Tertiary. D1 is preserved as NW-SE striking upright folds under garnet grade regional metamorphism during the Triassic Indosinian orogeny as South China block amalgamated with the Indochina block. The large-scale horizontal D2 folds with a dominant top to N-NW bottom to S-SW sense of shear, and sub-horizontal fold axial planes suggest that the DNCV metamorphic complex remained at midcrustal depths since the Indosinian orogeny. The youngest ductile deformation event, D3, refolded D2 recumbent folds into a dome, and uplifted the DNCV as lower-temperature fabrics, S3, indicated. Steep mylonite zones with left-lateral kinematic indicators and brittle faulting were developed on both limbs of the dome along the steep Song Hong and Song Chay faults during left-lateral movement of the RRSZ. Our new spatial, temporal and kinematic correlations of metamorphic fabrics within the DNCV metamorphic complex support the suggestion that the RRSZ developed after regional metamorphism and remained purely a crustal fault. The complicated deformation history recorded within the DNCV metamorphic complex provides an alternative interpretation and suggests that crustal scale strike-slip faults (such as the RRSZ) need not root from the mantle.
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