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Wright, James D.

Position: Professor/Graduate Program Director
Office: 233G Wright Geological Laboratory
Phone: (848) 445-3445


  • Ph.D., M.Phil., Columbia University
  • M.S., University of South Carolina
  • B.S., Louisiana Tech University
  • B.S., Ouachita Baptist University


  • Undergraduate: Planet Earth (01:460:100), Major Events in Earth History (01:460:480)
  • Graduate:  Paleoceanography, Stable Isotopes in the Environment, Marine Geology

Research Interests

  • My research interest is understanding how past ocean circulation changes influenced climates over a variety of time scales.  Working with pre-Pleistocene sediments, I have reconstructed the deep-water circulation patterns in the North Atlantic for the past 25 million years.   Changes in North Atlantic deep circulation correlate with major climate changes that occurred during this time interval.  For example, decreases or shutdowns in the North Atlantic deep water source over the past 15 million years coincided with the initiation of small northern hemisphere ice sheets during the middle Miocene and their growth into the large ice sheets during the late Pliocene.  The cyclic behavior of these ice sheets has dominated global climate over the past 3 million years.  While the cold climates correspond to a weakened conveyor circulation, the warm climates of the early Pliocene occurred when the conveyor circulation was more vigorous than today.

    I am also working on late Pleistocene and Holocene projects.   One of the outstanding problems in millennial-scale variability in the North Atlantic over the past 80 thousand years is an accurate depiction of the surface salinity variations.  These should have a profound effect on the surface and deep water circulation patterns in the North Atlantic and heat budgets for the northern hemisphere.  Taking advantage of the different life cycles in multiple species of planktonic foraminifera , it appears that the interspecificss δ18O relationships reflect surface water salinity changes.  I am also working on reconstructing the marine climates along northwestern Peru.  Other workers have shown that there were profound changes in the marine fauna and flora as well as an evolution from grasslands to desert environments on land.  The stable isotope records from foraminifera, mollusks and organic matter should help to reconstruct differences in the mean annual and seasonality along coastal Peru.

My primary research tool is the analysis of stable oxygen and carbon isotopes in marine organisms, which record the history of sea surface temperature variations, ice volume changes, and reorganization of surface and deep-water circulation patterns.  In the spring of 1999, we will be installing a Micromass Optima mass spectrometer with a Multiprep device for the automated analysis of δ18O and δ13C values in carbonate samples and δ18O values in water samples.


100. Kent, D.V., L. Lanci, H. Wang, and J.D. Wright, 2017. Enhanced magnetization of the Marlboro Clay as a product of soil pyrogenesis at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary?em>zEarth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 473, 303-312.

99. Miller, K.G., R.D. Baloyut, J.D. Wright, R.E. Kopp, J.V. Browning, 2017. Closing an early Miocene astronomical gap with Southern Ocean δ18O and δ13C records: Implications for sea level change. Paleoceanography, v. 32, 1-22. DOI: 10.1002/2016PA003074.

98. Miller, K.G., and J.D. Wright, 2017. Success and failure in Cenozoic global correlations using golden spikes: A geochemical and magnetostratigraphic perspective. Episodes, v. 40, 8-21.

97. Makarova, M., Wright, J.D., Miller, K.G., Babila, T.L., Rosenthal, Y., Park, J.I., 2017. Hydrographic and ecologic implications of foraminiferal stable isotopic response across the mid‐Atlantic US continental shelf during the Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum. Paleoceanography 32, 56-73, DOI:10.1002/2016PA002985.

96. Mortlock, R. A., Abdul, N. A., Wright, J. D., and Fairbanks, R. G., 2016, Reply to comment by E. Bard et al. on “Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata” by NA Abdul et al: Paleoceanography, 31, 1609–1616, DOI: 10.1002/2016PA003047.

95. Schaller, M. F., Fung, M. K., Wright, J. D., Katz, M. E. & Kent, D. V., 2016. Impact ejecta at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. Science 354, 225-229.

94. Betzler, C., Eberli, G. P., Kroon, D., Wright, J. D., Swart, P. K., Nath, B. N., Alvarez-Zarikian, C. A., Alonso-García, M., Bialik, O. M., Blättler, C. L., Guo, J. A., Haffen, S., Horozal, S., Inoue, M., Jovane, L., Lanci, L., Laya, J. C., Mee, A. L. H., Lüdmann, T., Nakakuni, M., Niino, K., Petruny, L. M., Pratiwi, S. D., Reijmer, J. J. G., Reolid, J., Slagle, A. L., Sloss, C. R., Su, X., Yao, Z., and Young, J. R., 2016, The abrupt onset of the modern South Asian Monsoon winds: Nature, Scientific Reports, v. 6, p. 29838, doi:10.1038/srep29838

93. Abdul, N., Mortlock, R., Wright, J., and Fairbanks, R., 2016, Younger Dryas sea level and meltwater pulse 1B recorded in Barbados reef crest coral Acropora palmata: Paleoceanography, 31, 330-344, DOI: 10.1002/2015PA002847

92. Babila, T. L., Rosenthal, Y., Wright, J. D., and Miller, K. G., 2016, A continental shelf perspective of ocean acidification and temperature evolution during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: Geology, v. 44, no. 4, p. 275-278, doi: 10.1130/G37522.1.

91. Elmore, A., Wright, J., and Chalk, T., 2015, Precession-driven changes in Iceland–Scotland Overflow Water penetration and bottom water circulation on Gardar Drift since~ 200ka: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 440, p. 551-563, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.09.042.

90. Harmand, Sonia, Jason E. Lewis, Craig S. Feibel, Christopher J. Lepre, Sandrine Prat, Arnaud Lenoble, Xavier Boës, Rhonda L. Quinn, Michel Brenet, Adrian Arroyo, Nicholas Taylor, Sophie Clément, Guillaume Daver, Jean-Philip Brugal, Louise Leakey, Richard A. Mortlock, James D. Wright, Sammy Lokorodi, Christopher Kirwa, Dennis V. Kent, 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya, Nature 05/2015; 521:310–315. DOI:10.1038/nature14464.

89. Schaller, M., JD Wright, DV Kent, 2015. A 30 million-year record of Late Triassic pCO2 variation reflects fundamental control of the carbon-cycle by changes in continental weathering, Geological Society of America Bulletin; 127(5/6):661-671. DOI:10.1130/B31107.1.

88. Esmeray-Senlet, S, JD Wright, RK Olsson, KG Miller, JV Browning, TM Quan, 2015. Evidence for reduced export productivity following the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction: Productivity after the K/Pg Boundary, Paleoceanography 05/2015; DOI:10.1002/2014PA002724.

87. Elmore, AC, JD Wright, J Southon, 2015. Continued meltwater influence on North Atlantic Deep Water instabilities during the early Holocene, Marine Geology 02/2015; 360:17-24. DOI:10.1016/j.margeo.2014.11.015.

86. Wright, JD, and MF Schaller, 2014. Reply to Pearson and Nicholas, Stassen et al., and Zeebe et al.: Teasing out the missing piece of the PETM puzzle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,111, E1068-E1071.

85. Channell,JET, JD Wright, A Mazaud, JS Stoner, 2014. Age through tandem correlation of Quaternary relative paleointensity (RPI) and oxygen isotope data at IODP Site U1306 (Eirik Drift, SW Greenland), Quaternary Science Reviews, 88, 135-148, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.01.022.

84. Woodard, SC, Y. Rosenthal, KG. Miller, JD Wright, B K. Chiu, K T. Lawrence, 2014. Antarctic role in Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Science,10.1126/science.1255586.

83. Wright, JD, and MF Schaller, 2013. New Evidence for a Rapid Release of Carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110,15908–15913, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309188110.

82. Quan, TM, JD Wright, and PG Falkowski, 2013. Co-variation of nitrogen isotopes and redox states through glacial–interglacial cycles in the Black Sea, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 112, 305-320,

81. Quinn, RL, CJ Lepre, CS Feibel, JD Wright, RA Mortlock, S Harmand, J-P Brugal, H Roche, 2013. Pedogenic carbonate stable isotopic evidence for wooded habitat preference of early Pleistocene tool makers in the Turkana Basin, J. of Human Evolution, 65, 65–78

80. Elmore, AC, S Sosdian, Y Rosenthal, JD Wright, 2012. A global evaluation of temperature and carbonate ion control on Mg/Ca ratios of ostracoda genus Krithe. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 13, 1-20. doi:10.1029/2012GC004073

79. Miller, KG, JD Wright, JV Browning, A Kulpecz, M Kominz, TR Naish, BS Cramer, Y Rosenthal, WR Peltier, S Sosdian, 2012. High tide of the warm Pliocene: Implications of global sea level for Antarctic deglaciation, Geology, 40, 407-410.

78. Schaller, MF, JD Wright, DV Kent, and PE Olsen, 2012, Rapid emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province as a net sink for CO2: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 323-324, 27–39, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.12.028.

77. Wade, BS, AJP Houben, W Quaijtaal, S Schouten, Y Rosenthal, KG Miller, ME Katz, JD Wright, H Brinkhuis, 2012. Multiproxy record of abrupt sea-surface cooling across the Eocene-Oligocene transition in the Gulf of Mexico, Geology, 40, 159-162.

76. Yatsu, S, K Kunio, M Oba, ZQ Chen, J-G Casier, JD Wright Euxinic ocean during the Late Devonian mass extinction inferred from organic compounds, Journal of Earth Science 06/2012; 21(1). DOI:10.1007/s12583-010-0178.

75. Boulila, S, B Galbrun, KG Miller, SF Pekar, JV Browning, J Laskar, JD Wright, 2011. On the origin of Cenozoic and Mesozoic “third-order” eustatic sequences, Earth-Science Reviews 109(3-4):94-112. DOI:10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.09.003

74. Cramer, B.S., K.G. Miller, P.J. Barrett, J.D. Wright, 2011. Late Cretaceous–Neogene trends in deep ocean temperature and continental ice volume: Reconciling records of benthic foraminiferal geochemistry (δ18O and Mg/Ca) with sea level history, JGR, 116, C12023, 23 PP., doi:10.1029/2011JC007255.

73. Elmore, AC, and JD Wright, 2011, North Atlantic Deep Water and climate variability during the Younger Dryas cold period, Geology, 39, 107–110, doi:10.1130/G31376.1.

72. Elmore, A.C., A.M. Piotrowski, J.D. Wright, and A.E. Scrivner, 2011. Testing the Extraction of Past Seawater Nd Isotopic Composition from North Atlantic Deep Sea Sediments and Foraminifera. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 12 (9); Q09008.

71. Katz, M.E., B.S. Cramer, J.R. Toggweiler, G. Esmay, G. Liu, K.G. Miller, Y. Rosenthal., B.S. Wade, J.D. Wright, Impact of Antarctic Circumpolar Current Development on Late Paleogene Ocean Structure, Science, 332, 1076-1079.

70. Miller, K.G., G.S. Mountain, J.D. Wright, and J.V. Browning. 2011. A 180-million-year record of sea level and ice volume variations from continental margin and deep-sea isotopic records. Oceanography 24(2):40–53, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2011.26.

69. Oba, M, K Kaiho, T Okabe, MA. Lamolda, JD Wright, 2011. Short-term euxinia coinciding with rotaliporid extinctions during the Cenomanian-Turonian transition in the middle-neritic eastern North Atlantic inferred from organic compounds, Geology 39(6):519-522. DOI:10.1130/G31805.1

68. Schaller, MF, JD Wright, DV Kent, 2011, Response to Comment on "Atmospheric pCO2 Perturbations Associated with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province": Science, v. 334, no. 6056, p. 594.

67. Schaller, MF, JD Wright, DV Kent, 2011, Atmospheric pCO2 perturbations associated with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, Science, 331, 1404.

66. Harris, AD, KG Miller, JV Browning, PJ Sugarman, RK Olsson, BS Cramer, JD Wright, 2010. Integrated stratigraphic studies of Paleocene–lowermost Eocene sequences, New Jersey Coastal Plain: Evidence for glacioeustatic control, Paleoceanography, 25, 1-18, doi:10.1029/2009PA001800.

65. Katz, ME, BS Cramer, A Franzese, B Hönisch, KG. Miller, Y. Rosenthal, and JD Wright, 2010. Traditional and emerging geochemical proxies in foraminifera, The Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 40, 165-190.

64. Wright, J.D., Miller, K.G., Sheridan, R.E, Cramer, V., Uptegrove, J., and Browning, J. V., Late Pleistocene sea level on the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Margin: Implications to eustasy and deep-sea temperature, Global and Planetary Change, 66, 93-99.

63. Browning, J.V., Miller, K.G., McLaughlin, P.P., Edwards, L.E., Powars, D.S., Kulpecz, A.A., Wade, B.S., Feigenson, M.D., and Wright, J.D., Integrated sequence stratigraphy of the post-impact sediments from the Eyreville coreholes, Chesapeake Bay impact structure inner basin: Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure, GSA Special Paper, 458, 775-810, 2009.

62. Cramer, B. S., J. R. Toggweiler, J. D. Wright, M. E. Katz, and K. G. Miller, Ocean overturning since the Late Cretaceous: Inferences from a new benthic foraminiferal isotope compilation, Paleoceanography, 24, PA4216, 2009.

61. McConnell, M. C., R. C. Thunell, L. Lorenzoni, Y. Astor, J. D. Wright, and R. Fairbanks (2009), Seasonal variability in the salinity and oxygen isotopic composition of seawater from the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela: Implications for paleosalinity reconstructions, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q06019, doi:10.1029/2008GC002035

60. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., Katz, M.E., Browning, J.V., Wade, B., and Rosenthal, Y., Climate threshold at the Eocene-Oligocene transition: Antarctic ice sheet influence on ocean circulation, GSA Special Paper (editors C. Koeberl and A. Montanari), 452, p. 169-178, 2008.

59. Mizintseva, SF., JV. Browning, KG. Miller, RK. Olsson, and J. D. Wright, 2009. Integrated Late Santonian-Early Campanian sequence stratigraphy, New Jersey Coastal Plain: Implications for global sea-level studies. Stratigraphy, 6, 45-60.

58. Pusz, A., Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., Katz, M.E., Cramer, B.S., and Kent, D.V., Stable Isotopic Response to Late Eocene Extraterrestrial Impacts, GSA Special Publication, 452, 83-95, 2009.

57. Katz, ME, Miller, KG, Wright, JD, Wade, BS, Browning, JV, Cramer, BS, & Rosenthal, Y., Stepwise transition from the Eocene greenhouse to the Oligocene icehouse, Nature Geoscience 1, 329 – 334, 2008.

56. Miller, KG, Browning, JV, Aubrey, M-P, Wade, BS,, Katz, ME,, Kulpesz, AA, and Wright, JD, Eocene–Oligocene global climate and sea-level changes: St. Stephens Quarry, Alabama, GSA Bulletin v. 120; no. 1-2; p. 34-53, 2008.

55. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., Katz, M.E., Browning, J.V., Cramer, B.S., Wade, B.S., and Mizintseva, S.F., 2008, A view of Antarctic ice-sheet evolution from sea-level and deep-sea isotope changes during the Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic, in Cooper, A.K., Barrett, P.J., Stagg, H., Storey, B., Stump, E., Wise, W., and the 10th ISAES editorial team, eds., Antarctica: A keystone in a changing world: Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences, Washington, DC, The National Academies Press, p. 55-70.

54. Evans, H, JET Channell, JS Stoner, C Hillaire-Marcel, JD Wright, LC Neitzke, GS Mountain, Paleointensity-assisted chronostratigraphy of detrital layers on the Eirik Drift (North Atlantic) since marine isotope stage 11, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 8, Q11007, doi:10.1029/2007GC001720, 2007

53. Liutkus, CM, and JD Wright, The influence of hydrology and climate on the isotope geochemistry of playa carbonates: a study from Pilot Valley, NV, USA, Sedimentology, doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2007.

52. Quinn RL, Lepre CJ, Wright JD, Feibel CS, Paleogeographic variations of pedogenic carbonate δ13C values from Koobi Fora, Kenya: implications for floral compositions of Plio-Pleistocene hominin environments. J Hum Evol. Nov;53(5):560-73, 2007.

51. James E. T. Channell, Tokiyuki Sato, Toshiya Kanamatsu, Rüdiger Stein, Mitchell Malone, Carlos Alvarez-Zarikian, S. Robinson, G. Bartoli, S. Chiyonobu, J. (Jed) E. Damuth, J. Hefter, S. Judge, D. Kulhanek, F. Nanayama, S. Nielsen, M. Ohno, H. Rashid, F. S. Sanchez, A. Voelker, Q. Zhai, 2006. IODP Expeditions 303 and 306 Monitor Miocene- Quaternary Climate in the North Atlantic, Scientific Drilling DOI:10.2204/

50. Finkel, Zoe V., Miriam E. Katz, James D. Wright, Oscar M. E. Schofield and Paul G. Falkowski, Climatically driven macroevolutionary patterns in the size of marine diatoms over the Cenozoic, PNAS, 102, 8927-8932, 2005.

49. Katz, M.E., Wright, J.D., Miller, K.G., Cramer, B.S., Fennel, K., Falkowski, P., Biological Overprint of the Geological Carbon Cycle, Marine Geology217, 323-338, 2005.

48. Liutkus, C.L., Wright, J.D., Ashley, G., and Sikes, N., Paleoenvironmental interpretation of lake-margin deposits using δ13C and δ18O results from Pleistocene carbonate rootcasts; Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, Geology, 33, 377–380, 2005.

47. Miller, K. G., M. A. Kominz, J. V. Browning, J. D. Wright, G. S. Mountain, M. E. Katz, P. J. Sugarman, B. S. Cramer, N. Christie-Blick, and S. F. Pekar (2005), The Phanerozoic record of global sea‐level change, Science, 310, 1293–1298, doi:10.1126/science. 1116412.

46. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., and Browning, J.V.,Visions of Ice Sheets in a Greenhouse World Marine Geology, 2005.

45. Van de Schootbrugge, B., Bailey, T.R., Rosenthal, Y., Katz, M.E., Wright, J.D., Feist-Burkhardt, S., Miller, K.G., and Falkowski, P.G., Early Jurassic climate change and the radiation of organic-walled phytoplankton in the Tethys Ocean. Paleobiology, 31, 73-97.

44. van de Schootbrugge, B.; McArthur, J. M.; Bailey, T. R.; Rosenthal, Y.; Wright, J. D.; Miller, K. G., Toarcian oceanic anoxic event: An assessment of global causes using belemnite C isotope records, Paleoceanography, 20, No. 3,2005.

43. Cramer, B., Wright, J.D., Kent, D.V., Aubry., M.-P., Orbital climate forcing of δ13C excursions in the late Paleocene-early Eocene (Chrons C24n-C25n), Paleoceanography, 18,1097.

42. Katz, M.E., Wright, J.D., Katz, D.R., Miller, K.G., Pak, D.K., Shackleton, N.J., and Thomas, E., Paleocene-Eocene benthic foraminiferal isotopes: species reliability and interspecies correction factors, Paleoceanography 18(2), 1024, doi:10.1029/2002PA000798, 2003.

41. Kent, D V, Cramer, B S, Lanci, L, Wang, D, Wright, J D, and Van Der Voo, R, Evidence For A Comet Impact Trigger For The Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum And Carbon Isotope Excursion, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 211/1-2 13 – 26, 2003.

40. Lear, C., Rosenthal, Y., and Wright, J.D., The closing of a seaway: Ocean water masses and global climate change, Earth and Planetary Science Letter, 210, 425-436, 2003.

39. Miller, K.G., Sugarman, P.J., Browning, J.V., Kominz, M.A., Hernandez, J.C., Olsson, R.K., Wright, J.D., Feigenson, M.D., and Van Sickel, W, A chronology of Late Cretaceous sequences and sea-level history: Glacioeustasy during the Greenhouse World.  Geology, v. 31, no. 7, p. 585-588, 2003.

38. Eberli, G.P., Anselmetti, F.S., Kroon, D., Sato, T., Wright, J.D., The Chronostratigraphic Significance of Seismic Reflections along the Bahamas Transect, Marine Geology, 185, 1-17, 2002.

37. Olsson, R.K., Miller, K.G., Browning, J.V., Wright, J.D., and Cramer, B.S., Sequence stratigraphy and sea level change across the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary on the New Jersey passive margin, GSA Special Paper 356, 97-108, 2002.

36. Miller, K.G., Browning, J.V., Sugarman, P.J., et al., 2002. 174AS leg summary: sequences, sea level, tectonics, and aquifer resources: coastal plain drilling. In Miller, K.G., Sugarman, P.J., Browning, J.V., et al., Proc. ODP, Init. Repts., 174AX (Suppl.): College Station TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 1-40.

35. Wright, J.D., Paleo-oceanography: Cenozoic Climate - Oxygen Isotope Evidence, in Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, J.Steele, S.Thorpe, K.Turekian (Eds.) Academic Press, 2001.

34. Wright, J.D. The Indonesian valve, Nature, 411, 142 –143, 2001.

33.Dorion, C.C., G. Balco, M. R. Kaplan, K.J. Kreutz, J.D. Wright, and H.W. Borns, Stratigraphy, Paleoceanography, Chronology, and Environment during deglaciation of eastern Maine, in, "Deglacial history and relative sea-level changes, northern New England and adjacent Canada" GSA Special Paper 351, T. Weddle and M. Retelle (eds.), 215-242.

32. Olsson, R.K., Wright, J.D., and Miller, K.G., Paleobiogeography of Pseudotextularia elegans during the latest Maastrichtian global warming event. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 31, 275-282, 2001.

31. Aubry, M.-P., Cramer, B.S., Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., Kent, D.V., Olsson, R.K., 2000. Late Paleocene event chronology: unconformities, not diachrony, Bull. Soc. Géol. France 171 367-378.

30.Cramer, B., Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., Aubry, M.-P., Olsson, R.K., Neritic records of the latest Paleocene thermal maximum from New Jersey: GFF published by the Swedish Geological Society,122, 38-39,2000.

29. Kroon, D., Williams, T., Pirmez, C., Spezzaferri, S., Sato, T., and Wright, J.D., Coupled early Pliocene-middle Miocene biocyclostratigraphy of Site 1006 reveals orbitally induced cyuclicity patterns of Great Bahama Bank carbonate production, in Proc. of the ODP, vol. 166, Scientific Results, 155-166.

28. Wright, J.D., and Kroon,D., Planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Leg 166, in Proc. of the ODP, Scientific Results, Swart, P. G. Eberli, M. Malone, and J. Sarg (Eds.), vol. 166, 3-12, 2000.

27. Wright, J.D., Global climate change in marine stable isotope records, in Quaternary Geochronology: Methods and Applications to Paleoseismology, AGU Reference Shelf Series Volume 4, Noller, J.S., J.M. Sowers, and W.R. Lettis, eds., p. 427-433, 2000.

26. Cramer, B., Aubry, M.P.,Miller, K.G., Olsson, R.K., Wright, J.D., and Kent, D.V., An exceptional chronologic, isotopic, and clay mineralogic record of the latest Paleocene thermal maximum, Bass River, NJ, ODP 174AX: Geological Society of France, Bulletin, 170, 883-897, 1999.

25. Lagerklint, I.M., and Wright, J.D., Late glacial warming prior to H1: The influence of ice rafting and large ice sheets on the timing of initial warming, Geology, 27, 1099-1102, 1999.

24. Sugarman, P.J., Miller, K.G., Olsson, R.K., Browning, J.V., Wright, J.D., de Romero, L., White, T.S., Muller, F.L., and Uptegrove, J., The Cenomanian/Turonian Carbon Burial Event, Bass River, NJ: Geochemical, Paleoecological, and Sea-level change, J. Foram. Res. 29., 438-452,1999.

23. Wright, J.D., The Role of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge in Cenozoic Climate Change, in Tectonic Boundary Conditions for Climate Reconstructions, T.J. Crowley and K. Burke (Eds.), Oxford University Press, p192-211, 1998.

22. Wright, J.D., Global climate change in marine stable isotope records, in Quaternary Geochronology: Applications in Quaternary Geology and Paleoseismology, Noller, J.S., J. Sowers, and W.R. Lettis (eds.), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NUREG/CR 5562, 2-671-682, 1998.

21. Miller, K.G., Mountain, G.S., Browning, J.V., Kominz, M., Sugarman, P.J., Christie-Blick, N., Katz, M.E., and Wright, J.D., Cenozoic global sea-level, sequences, and the New Jersey Transect: Results from Coastal Plain and Slope Drilling, Reviews of Geophysics, 36, 569-601, 1998.

20. Reusch, D.N., Ravizza, G., Maasch, K.A., and Wright, J.D., Miocene seawater 187Os/188Os ratios inferred from metalliferous carbonates, Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett., 160, 163-178, 1998.

19. Miller, K G., Sugarman, P.J., Browning, J.V., Aubry, M.-P., Brenner, G.J., Bukry, D., Burckle, L.H., Cramer, B.S., Curran, J, Dalton, R.F., Feigenson, M.D., Lawrence, R.P., Metzger, J.M., Olsson, R.K., Pekar, S.F., Reilly, T J., Stewart, M., Uptegrove, J., Wright, J D., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program; Initial reports; New Jersey coastal plain; covering onshore boreholes as part of the New Jersey Sea-Level Transect, Bass River Site, October-November 1996 ,Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Part A: Initial Reports , 174AX, p. 43, 1998.

18. Boden, P., Fairbanks, R.G., Wright, J.D., and Burckle, L.H., High-resolution stable isotope records from southwest Sweden: The drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake and Younger Dryas ice margin oscillations, Paleoceanography, 12, 39-49, 1997.

17. Eberli, G.P., Swart, P K., Malone, M J., Anselmetti, F.S., Arai, K., Bernet, K.H., Betzler, C., Christensen, B.A., De Carlo, E.H., Dejardin, P.M., Emmanuel, L, Frank, T.D., Haddad, G.A., Isern, A.R., Katz, M.E., Kenter, J.A.M., Kramer, P,A., Kroon, D., McKenzie, J.A., McNeill, D.F., Montgomery, P., Nagihara, S., Pirmez, C., Reijmer, J.J. G., Sato, T., Schovsbo, N. H., Williams, T., Wright, J.D., Leg synthesis; Sea-level changes and fluid flow on the Great Bahama Bank slope of the Drilling Vessel JOIDES Resolution, San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Balboa Harbor, Panama, sites 1003-1009, 17 February-10 April 1996,Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Part A: Initial Reports , 166, p. 13-22, , 1997.

16. Wright, J.D., and Miller, K.G., Control of North Atlantic deep water circulation by the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. Paleoceanography, 11, 157-170, 1996.

15. Oppo, D.W., Raymo, M.E., Lohmann, G.P., Mix, A.C., Wright, J.D., and Prell, W.B., A δ13C Record of Upper North Atlantic Deep Water during the past 2.6 million years, Paleoceanogr., 10, 373-394, 1995.

14. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., van Fossen, M., Miocene stable isotopic stratigraphy and magneto-stratigraphy of Buff Bay, Jamaica, Geol Soc. Am. Bull., 106, 1605-1620, 1994.

13. Oslick, J.S., Miller, K.G., Feigenson, M.D., Wright, J.D., Testing Oligocene-Miocene strontium isotopes: Stratigraphic revisions and correlations with an inferred glacioeustatic record. Paleoc, 9, 427-443, 1994.

12. Wright, J.D. and Miller, K.G., Southern Ocean influence on late Eocene to Miocene Deep-water circulation, in The Antarctic Paleoenvironment: A Perspective on Global Change (Part 2), J.P. Kennett (Ed.), Ant. Res. Ser., 60, 1-25, 1993.

11. Wright, J.D., Deglaciation triggered by the resumption of North Atlantic Deep Water, Geophys.News, 1993.

10. Charles, C.D., Wright, J.D., and Fairbanks, R.G., Thermodynamic influences on the marine carbon isotope record, Paleoceanography, 8, 691-698, 1993.

9. Wright, J.D., Miller, K.G., and Fairbanks, R.G., Early and middle Miocene stable isotopes: Implications for deepwater circulation, climate and tectonics, Paleoceanogr, 7, 357-389, 1992.

8. Wright, J.D. and K.G. Miller, Miocene stable isotope stratigraphy, Site 747, Kerguelen Plateau, Proc. of the ODP, vol. 120, Part B, 855-866, 1992.

7. Fairbanks, R.G., Charles, C.D., Wright, J.D., Origin of Melt Water Pulses, in Radiocarbon After Four Decades, R.E. Taylor et al. (eds.) 473-500, (Springer Verlag), 1992.

6. Wright, J.D., Miller, K.G., and Fairbanks, R.G., Evolution of deep water circulation: Evidence from the late Miocene Southern Ocean, Paleoceanography, 6, 275-290, 1991.

5. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D., and Fairbanks, R.G., Unlocking the Ice House: Oligocene-Miocene oxygen isotopes, eustasy, and margin erosion, J. Geophys. Res., 96, 6829-6848, 1991.

4. Fairbanks, R.G., Mountain, G.S., and Wright, J.D., Geologic record of sea level and its relevance to global change forecasts, in Report of the Advisory Panel on, Meeting on Earth System History, National Science Foundation, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., 75-97, 1991.

3. Miller, K.G., Feigenson, M.D., Wright, J.D., & Clement, B.M., Lower to middle Miocene isotope 87Sr/86Sr, δ18O, δ13C) standard section, DSDP Site 608, Paleoceanogr. 6, 33-52, 1991.

2. Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D. and Brower, A.N., Oligocene to Miocene stable isotope stratigraphy and planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the Sierra Leone Rise (Sites 366 and 677), Proc. of the Ocean Drilling Program, Leg 108, 279-294, 1989.

1. Wright, J.D. and Thunell, R.C., Neogene planktonic foraminiferal biogeography and paleoceanography of the Indian Ocean, Micropaleontology, 3, 193-216, 1988.

Oliver Withjack, Martha

Position: Professor
Office: 243A Wright Geological Laboratory
Phone: (732) 445-6974


  • B.A., Rutgers University 
  • M.A., Ph. D., Brown University


  • Undergraduate: Field Geology,Structural Geology,Tectonics and Regional Structural Geology
  • Graduate: Advanced Tectonics; Acquisition, Processing & Interpretation of Seismic Reflection Data; Modeling in Structural Geology: Geometric, Experimental & Numerical

Research Interests

  • Extensional tectonics; rift-basin and passive-margin development; experimental modeling of geologic structures; seismic interpretation; petroleum geology


  • Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Olsen, P.E., 2002, Relative timing of CAMP, rifting, continental breakup, and inversion: tectonic significance, in Hames, W.E., McHone, G.C., Renne, P.R., and Ruppel, C.R., eds., The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province: Insights from Fragments of Pangea: American Geophysical Union Monograph 136, p. 33-59. >>PDF File
  • Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Eisenstadt, G., 2002, An experimental study of the secondary deformation produced by oblique-slip normal faulting: AAPG Bulletin, v. 86, p. 885-906.  >>PDF file
  • Ackermann, R.V., Schlische, R.W., and Withjack, M.O., 2001, The geometric and statistical evolution of normal fault systems: an experimental study of the effects of mechanical layer thickness on scaling laws: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 23, p. 1803-1819. >>PDF file
  • Clifton, A.E., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Ackermann, R.V., 2000, Influence of rift obliquity on fault-population systematics: results of clay modeling experiments: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 22, p. 1491-1509. >>PDF file
  • Withjack, M. O., and Callaway, J. S., 2000, Active normal faulting beneath a salt layer -- an experimental study of deformation in the cover sequence:  AAPG Bulletin, v. 84, p. 627-651. >>PDF file
  • Clifton, A.E., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Ackermann, R.V., 2000, Influence of rift obliquity on fault-population systematics: results of clay modeling experiments: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 22, p. 1491-1509. >>PDF file
  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Olsen, P.E., 1998, Diachronous rifting, drifting, and inversion on the passive margin of central eastern North America: An analog for other passive margins: AAPG Bulletin, v. 82, p. 817-835. >>PDF File
  • Withjack, M. O., Olsen, P. E., and Schlische, R. W., 1995, Tectonic evolution of the Fundy basin, Canada: Evidence of extension and shortening during passive-margin development: Tectonics, v. 14, p. 390-405.
  • Withjack, M., Islam, Q., and LaPointe, P., 1995, Normal faults and their hanging-wall deformation--an experimental study:  AAPG Bulletin, v. 79, p. 1-18. >>PDF file
  • Eisenstadt, G., and Withjack, M., 1995, Estimating inversion--results from clay-model studies:  in Basin Inversion, Geological Society of London, Special Publication 88, p. 119-136.
  • Withjack, M., and Islam, Q., 1993, Origin of rollover--a discussion:  AAPG Bulletin, v. 77, p. 657-658.
  • Withjack, M., and Peterson, E., 1993, Prediction of normal-fault geometries--a sensitivity analysis:  AAPG Bulletin, v. 77, p. 1860-1873. >>PDF file
  • Withjack, M., Olson, J., and Peterson, E., 1990, Experimental models of extensional forced folds:  AAPG Bulletin, v. 74, p. 1038-1054.

Extensional Tectonics Working Group at Rutgers

Structural Geology and Tectonics at Rutgers (PDF file; 816 KB)

Sherrell, Robert

Position: Associate Professor
Phone: (732) 932-6555


  • B.A., Oberlin College
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


  • Undergraduate: Environmental Geochemistry

Research Interests

  • Geochemistry of marine and fresh waters; paleochemical records in ice cores

VanTongeren, Jill A.

Position: Assistant Professor
Office: 343 Wright Geological Laboratory
Phone: (732) 445-5363


  • B.S., University of Michigan
  • M.A.,PhD Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


  • Undergraduate:
  • Graduate:

Research Interests

  • Geochemical and Thermal Evolution of Large Magma Chambers: My research on the evolution of large magma chambers has focused primarily on the Upper Zone of the Bushveld Complex of South Africa.  The Bushveld Complex is the world’s largest layered mafic intrusion and is one of the world’s largest sources of precious metals.  The Upper Zone is thought to represent the final pulse of magma into the Bushveld, and is ideal for investigating the effects of heat loss and extreme differentiation of large magma bodies
  • Processes in the Lower Oceanic Crust: My research on the oceanic crust focuses primarily on the thermal evolution and cooling rates in the lower oceanic crust at spreading ridges. Specifically, I am interested in quantifying the variation in cooling rates with depth in lower crustal gabbros in the Oman ophiolite. This work is important for understanding the role of hydrothermal convection throughout the lower crust as well as mechanisms of lower crustal accretion at ridges.
  • Early Earth Tectonics: The construction of oceanic crust in the modern day can inform our understanding of how the crust might have formed in the Archean, when mantle potential temperatures were hotter, magma compositions were more magnesian, and oceanic crust was much thicker.  My work is focused on how changing magma composition influences the phase equilibria present within the crust.  The results have implications for the density of the Archean crust, the onset of plate tectonics, and possibly the creation of the ‘building blocks’ of continental crust.


Schlische, Roy W.

Position: Professor
Office: 234 Wright Geological Laboratory
Phone: (848) 445-6974


  • B.A., Rutgers University
  • M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D., Columbia University


  • Undergraduate: Structural Geology & Geologic Maps, Oil & Gold: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (formerly Earth Resources and Global Economics), Tectonics and Regional Structural Geology
  • Graduate: Seminar in Extensional Tectonics, Advanced Tectonics, Modeling in Structural Geology: Geometric, Experimental & Numerical

Extensional Tectonics Working Group at Rutgers >>Website

Structural Geology and Tectonics at Rutgers >>PDF file

Research Interests

The goal of my research is to understand: 1) the geometry, evolution and mechanics of normal-fault systems and fault-related extensional folds; and 2) the evolution and mechanics of continental rift systems and the development of passive margins. My approach is multi-faceted, incorporating field studies, scaled experimental modeling, and interpretation of seismic-reflection profiles. The results of my research are applicable to sedimentary, petroleum, and hydrogeologic systems and to seismic-hazard assessment.

Experimental Modeling Laboratory

Jump to Structure / Tectonics Group

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  • Withjack, M.O., Henza, A.A., and Schlische, R.W., 2017, 3D fault geometries and interactions within experimental clay models of multiphase extension: AAPG Bulletin, in press.
  • Olsen, P.E., Kinney, S.T., Zakharova, N.V., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.P., Kent, D.V., Goldberg, D.S., Slater, B.E., 2016, New insights on rift basin development and the geological carbon cycle, mass extinction, and carbon sequestration from outcrops and new core, drill holes and seismic lines from the northern Newark basin (New York and New Jersey). In Gates, A.E. (ed.), 88th Annual, New York State Geological Field Conference, Guidebook, Geologic Diversity in the New York Metropolitan Area, pp. 190-275.
  • Schreurs, G., Buiter, S.J.H., Boutelier, J., Burberry, C., Callot, J.-P., Cavozzi, C., Cerca, M., Chen, J.-H., Cristallini, E., Cruden, A.R., Cruz, L., Daniel, J.-M., Da Poian, G., Garcia, V.H., Gomes, C.J.S., Grall, C., Guillot, Y., Guzmán, C., Hidayah, T.N., Hilley, G., Klinkmüller, M., Koyi, H.A., Lu, C.-Y., Maillot, B., Meriaux, C., Nilfouroushan, F., Pan, C.-C., Pillot, D., Portillo, R., Rosenau, M., Schellart, W.P., Schlische, R.W., Take, A., Vendeville, B., Vergnaud, M., Vettori, M., Wang, S.-H., Withjack, M.O., Yagupsky, D., Yamada, Y., 2016, Benchmarking analog models of brittle wedges: Journal of Structural Geology, v 92, p. 116-139, DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2016.03.005.
  • Whipp, P.S., Jackson, C.A.L., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., Gawthorpe, R.L., 2016, Spatial distribution and evolution of fault-segment boundary types in rift systems; observations from experimental clay models, in Childs, C., Holdsworth, R.E., Jackson, C.A.L., Manzocchi, T., Walsh, J.J., Yielding, G., The geometry and growth of normal faults: Geological Society of London Special Publication, 439,
  • Schlische, R.W., Groshong Jr., R.H., Withjack, M.O., and Hidayah, T.N., 2014, Quantifying the geometry, displacements, and subresolution deformation in thrust-ramp anticlines with growth and erosion: from models to seismic-reflection profile: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 69, p. 304-319. []
  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., Malinconico, M.L., and Olsen, P.E., 2013, Rift-basin development—lessons from the Triassic-Jurassic Newark basin of eastern North America, in Mohriak, W.U., Danforth, A., Post, P.J., Brown, D.E., Tari, G.C., Nemcock, M., and Sinha, S.T., editors, Conjugate Divergent Margins, Geological Society (London) Special Publication 369, p. 301-321. [first published online, 29 May 2012, DOI: 10.1144/SP369.13]
  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Olsen, P.E., 2012, Development of the passive margin of eastern North America—Mesozoic rifting, igneous activity, and drifting, in Roberts, D.G., and Bally, A.W., eds., Regional Geology and Tectonics, Volume 1B—Phanerozoic Rift Systems and Sedimentary Basins: New York, Elsevier, p. 301-335. [DOI:10.1016/B978-0-444-56356-9.00012-2]
  • Groshong, R.H., Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Hidayah, T.N., 2012, Bed length does not remain constant during deformation: recognition and why it matters: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 41, p. 86-97, 10.1016/j.jsg.2012.02.009.
  • Henza, A.A., Withjack, M.O., and Schlische, R.W., 2011, How do the properties of a pre-existing normal-fault population influence fault development during a subsequent phase of extension?: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 33, p. 1312-1324, DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2011.06.010.
  • Syamsir, Z., Withjack, M.O., Durcanin, M.A., Schlische, R.W., and Monteverde, D.H., 2010, The Mesozoic Orpheus rift basin, offshore Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada: synrift and early postrift evolution of well-imaged North Atlantic rift basin: II Central & North Atlantic Conjugate Margins Conference, Lisbon, volume V, p. 279-283.
  • Faulkner, D., Jackson, C.A.L., Lunn, R.J., Schlische, R.W., Shipton, Z., Wibberly, C., and Withjack, M.O., 2010, A review of recent developments regarding the structure, mechanics and fluid-flow properties of fault zones: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 11, p. 1557-1575, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2010.06.009.
  • Henza, A.A., Withjack, M.O., and Schlische, R.W., 2010, Normal-fault development during two phases of non-coaxial extensiion; an experimental study: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 11, p. 1656-1667, doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2009.07.007.
  • Withjack, M.O., Baum, M.S., and Schlische, R.W., 2010, Influence of preexisting fault fabric on inversion-related deformation: A case study of the inverted Fundy rift basin, southeastern Canada: Tectonics, v. 29, TC6004, 22 pages, doi:10.1029/2010TC002744.
  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Baum, M.S., 2009, The extensional development of the Fundy rift basin, southeastern Canada: Geological Journal, v. 44, p. 631-651. doi: 10.1002/gj.1186. [Invited paper]
  • Schlische, R.W., and Withjack, M.O., 2009, Origin of fault domains and fault-domain boundaries (transfer zones and accommodation zones) in extensional provinces--result of random nucleation and self-organized fault growth: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 31, p. 910-925. doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2008.09.005
  • Baum, M.S., Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., 2008, The ins and outs of buttress folds: examples from the Fundy rift basin, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada. In: Brown, D.E. (Ed.): Central Atlantic Conjugate Margins: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, p. 53-61.
  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Henza, A.A., 2007, Scaled experimental models of extension--dry sand vs. wet clay: Houston Geological Survey Bulletin, v. 49 (8), p. 31-49.
  • Fan, Y., Toran, L., and Schlische, R.W., 2007, Groundwater flow and groundwater-stream interaction in fractured and dipping sedimentary rocks: Insights from numerical models: Water Resources Research, v. 43, W01409, doi:10.1029/2006WR004864.
  • Withjack, M.O., and Schlische, R.W., 2006, Geometric and experimental models of extensional fault-bend folds: Geological Society (London) Special Publication 253, p. 285-305.
  • Schreurs, G., Buiter, S.J.H., Boutelier, D., Corti, G., Costa, E., Cruden, A.R., Daniel, J.-M., Hoth, S., Koyi, H., Kukowski, N., Lohrmann, J., Ravaglia, A., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Yamada, Y., Cavozzi, C., DelVentisetti, C., Elder Brady, J.A., Hoffmann-Rothe, A., Mengus, J.-M., Montanari, D., Nilfouroshan, F., 2006, Analogue benchmarking—results of shortening and extension experiments: Geological Society (London) Special Publication 253, p. 1-27.
  • Schlische, R.W., and Withjack, M.O., 2005, The early Mesozoic Birdsboro central Atlantic margin basin in the Mid-Atlantic region, eastern United States: Discussion: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 117, p. 823-828.
  • Schlische, R.W., and Withjack, M.O., 2005, Normal faults in the Passaic Formation at Haycock Mountain, in Gates, A.E., ed., Newark Basin—View from the 21st Century: 22nd Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of New Jersey, Field Guide and Proceedings, p. 120-124.
  • Withjack, M.O., and Schlische, R.W., 2005, A review of tectonic events on the passive margin of eastern North America, in Post, P., ed., Petroleum Systems of Divergent Continental Margin Basins: 25th Bob S. Perkins Research Conference, Gulf Coast Section of SEPM, p. 203-235.
  • Withjack, M.O., and Schlische, R.W., 2004, Geometric and experimental models of extensional fault-bend folds: Bollettino di Geofisica, Teorica ed Applicata, v. 45, no. 1, p. 287-290.
  • Schlische, R.W., 2004, Structural and Climatic Controls on Sedimentation in the Newark Rift Basin--Field Guide to Classic Outcrops Along and Near the Delaware River, NJ and PA: National Association of Geoscience Teachers Eastern Section Meeting, Newark, NJ.
  • Clifton, A.E., and Schlische, R.W., 2003, Fracture populations on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland: Comparisons with experimental clay models of oblique rifting: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 108, No. B2, 10.1029/2001JB000635, 17 pp.
  • Schlische, R.W., 2003, Progress in understanding the structural geology, basin evolution, and tectonic history of the eastern North American rift system, in LeTourneau, P.M., and Olsen, P.E., eds., The Great Rift Valleys of Pangea: New York, Columbia University Press.
  • Ackermann, R.V., Schlische, R.W., Patiño, L.C., and Johnson, L.A., 2003, A Lagerstätte of rift-related tectonic structures from the Solite Quarry, Dan River/Danville rift basin, in LeTourneau, P.M., and Olsen, P.E., eds., The Great Rift Valleys of Pangea: New York, Columbia University Press.
  • Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Olsen, P.E., 2002, Relative timing of CAMP, rifting, continental breakup, and inversion: tectonic significance, in Hames, W.E., McHone, G.C., Renne, P.R., and Ruppel, C.R., eds., The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province: Insights from Fragments of Pangea: American Geophysical Union Monograph 136, p. 33-59.
  • Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Eisenstadt, G., 2002, An experimental study of the secondary deformation produced by oblique-slip normal faulting: AAPG Bulletin, v. 86, p. 885-906.
  • Ackermann, R.V., Schlische, R.W., and Withjack, M.O., 2001, The geometric and statistical evolution of normal fault systems: an experimental study of the effects of mechanical layer thickness on scaling laws: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 23, p. 1803-1819.
  • Clifton, A.E., and Schlische, R.W., 2001, Nucleation, growth and linkage of faults in oblique rift zones: results from experimental clay models: Geology, v. 29, p. 455-458.
  • Clifton, A.E., Schlische, R.W., Withjack, M.O., and Ackermann, R.V., 2000, Influence of rift obliquity on fault-population systematics: results of clay modeling experiments: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 22, p. 1491-1509.

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