The EPS alumni newsletter, “The Redbeds,” derives its name from the red-colored sedimentary rocks prevalent in the New Brunswick / Piscataway area. The strata are part of the Passaic Formation that accumulated in Late Triassic time (about 220 million years ago) in the Newark rift basin, a depression that formed on the downthrown side of a normal fault that was active during continental stretching preceding the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean. This web essay provides a comprehensive overview of the geology of the Newark basin, information that was stitched together from geologic mapping, multiple seismic-reflection profiles that imaged the subsurface geometry, and scores of cores. We also compare the Newark basin to other rift basins in eastern North America and around the world.
This web essay is a substantially updated version of one first posted in 2002. All figures are now displayed at a higher resolution than the originals, and most figures have undergone substantial revision to reflect the most recent research. The web essay includes more than 50 illustrations that you can view by clicking on the figure call-outs in the text. This will open a new window containing one or more diagrams and an explanatory caption. Click on the X in the bottom right corner to close the illustration. Clicking on a citation will bring you to the full reference opened in a separate window or tab. Some names appear repeatedly in the bibliography: Martha Withjack, Paul Olsen, and Dennis Kent. Their collective work has enriched this essay.