Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Schlische, Roy W.

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  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: (848) 445-6974
  • Email:
  • Office: Wright Labs Room 234
  • Research Interests: Structural geology, tectonics, experimental modeling
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  • B.A., Rutgers University
  • M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D., Columbia University


  • Undergraduate: Structural Geology & Geologic Maps; Earthquakes & Volcanoes; 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

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 >>
Structure/Tectonics Group >>
Web Essay: Geology of the Newark Rift Basin>>


  • Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., Olsen, P.E., Kinney, S., 2022, in press., The rifted margin of eastern North America: Insights into Rifting, Igneous Activity, and Breakup, for “Phanerozoic Geology of the World,” 2nd edition, Elsevier.
  • Hanafi, B.R., Withjack, M.O., Durcanin, M., Schlische, R.W., 2022, The development of the eastern Orpheus rift basin, offshore eastern Canada: A case study of the interplay between rift-related faulting and salt deposition and flow: Marine & Petroleum Geology, special volume on “Regional geology in orogens and sedimentary basins: A tribute to Albert W. Bally,” v.139,
  • Klaser, M., Gross, J., Tindall, S., Schlische, R.W., and Potter, C., 2018, Europa’s ice tectonics: New insights from physical wax experiments with implications for subduction initiation and global resurfacing processes: Icarus, v. 321, p. 593–607.
  • Olsen, P.E., Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., Pazzaglia, F., 2018, Field-trip guidebook: Temporal, tectonic, climatic, and environmental context of the Triassic-Jurassic rift system of eastern North America: Emerging concepts from the Newark rift basin: 83rd Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists, Center Valley, PA, October 5-6, 2018, 64+ pp.
  • 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, v. 101 (11), p. 1767-1789.
  • 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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