Late Triassic and Early Jurassic bedrock in the Newark basin is pervasively fractured as a result of Mesozoic rifting of the east-central North American continental margin. Tectonic rifting imparted systematic sets of steeply-dipping, en ??chelon, Mode I, extension fractures in basin strata including ordinary joints and veins. These fractures are arranged in transitional-tensional arrays resembling normal dip-slip shear zones. They contributed to crustal stretching, sagging, and eventual faulting of basin rift deposits. Extension fractures display progressive linkage and spatial clustering that probably controlled incipient fault growth. They cluster into three prominent strike groups correlated to early, intermediate, and late-stage tectonic events reflecting about 50- 60?? of counterclockwise rotation of incremental stretching directions. Finite strain analyses show that extension fractures allowed the stretching of basin strata by a few percent, and these fractures impart stratigraphic dips up to a few degrees in directions opposing fracture dips. Fracture groups display three-dimensional spatial variability but consistent geometric relations. Younger fractures locally cut across and terminate against older fractures having more complex vein-cement morphologies and bed-normal folds from stratigraphic compaction. A fourth, youngest group of extension fractures occur sporadically and strike about E-W in obliquely inverted crustal blocks. A geometric analysis of overlapping fracture sets shows how fracture groups result from incremental rotation of an extending tectonic plate, and that old fractures can reactivate with oblique slip components in the contemporary, compressive stress regime. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Steeply-dipping extension fractures in the Newark basin, New Jersey