High-resolution stratigraphy of the Newark rift basin (early Mesozoic, eastern North America)

Paul E. Olsen, Dennis V. Kent, Bruce Cornet, William K. Witte, Roy W. Schlische

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174 Scopus citations


Virtually the entire Late Triassic and earliest Jurassic age section of the early Mesozoic Newark continental rift basin has been recovered in over 6770 m of continuous core as part of the Newark Basin Coring Project (NBCP). Core was collected using an offset drilling method at seven sites in the central part of the basin. The cores span most of the fluvial Stockton Formation, all of the lacustrine Lockatong and Passaic formations, the Orange Mountain Basalt, and nearly all of the lacustrine Feltville Formation. The cores allow for the first time the full Triassic-age part of the Newark basin stratigraphie sequence to be described in detail. This includes the gray, purple, and red, mostly fluvial Stockton Formation as well as the 53 members that make up the lacustrine Lockatong (mostly gray and black) and Passaic (mostly red) formations. The nearly 25% overlap zones between each of the stratigraphically adjacent cores are used to test lateral correlations in detail, scale the cores to one another, and combine them in a 4660-m-thick composite section. This composite shows that the entire post-Stockton sedimentary section consists of a hierarchy of sedimentary cycles, thought to be of Milankovitch climate cycle origin. Lithostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic correlations between core overlap zones and outcrops demonstrate that the individual sedimentary cycles can be traced essentially basinwide. The agreement between the cyclostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy shows both the cycles and the polarity boundaries to be isochronous horizons. Detailed analysis of the Newark basin shows that high-resolution cyclostratigraphy is possible in lacustrine, primarily red-bed rift sequences and provides a fine-scale framework for global correlations and an understanding of continental tropical climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-77
Number of pages38
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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