Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Field Trip Guidebooks Series, Volume 213.
The Culpeper basin of northern Virginia and adjacent maryland is an elongate, north-northeast-trending half-graben containing a thick sequence of Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic nonmarine sedimentary and igneous rocks. The basin is centrally located in a belt of exposed early Mesozoic troughs that roughly parallels the dominant Appalachian structural trend of the enclosing Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks and extends discontinously from South Carolina to Canada. The basins within this belt formed by extensional processes during the initial stages of continental fragmentation that ultimately led to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. Some preexisting thrust faults that influenced the shape and distribution of the basins were apparently reactivated as normal faults during this extensional event (Lindholm, 1978; Ratcliffe and Burton, 1985). The sedimentary rocks and basalt flows in these exposed basins are collectively referred to as the Newark Supergroup (Froelich and Olsen, 1985). These deposits are intruded by numerous Early Jurassic tholeiitic diabase dikes and sheets that thermally altered the enclosing sedimentary strata.
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