Geology 415
Geological Evolution of North America

Lynn S. Fichter -
233 Miller Hall - 568 6531 - James Madison University

   Structure Primers         Labeled Base Maps    Appalachian Geology         Archaean/Proterozoic
   Final Exam Study Guide
If you see any mistakes in these pages, broken links, incorrect links, etc. please let me know so I can correct them.
   Course Syllabus

   Text Books:
>  One JMU Copy Center Notebook.
>  Windley, Brian F, 1995, The Evolving Continents, Wiley, Third Edition)
   Final Exam Time: TBA

   Office Hours: M 8:00 - 9:00; 1:00 - 2:00; Th 8:00 - 9:00; By Appointment, but any time I am in my office, which is most of the time, you may come by to see me.

     Ok, folks. This page is going to grow by request or necessity as the semester progresses. Anything that comes up that you need, or that will be useful I will link here.
     Many of the documents will be in Adobe .pdf format, which means they need a special Adobe Acrobat reader. Most or all the computers in the lab should have this already. If you are working on a personal computer that does not have it, clicking on the link will direct you to a place to download a free reader.
      As the files begin to load Do not choose the save option, just double click the link to open the file into the reader and print from there. Unless you have the program, and/or fonts that produced the original document you will get a garbled document.
     And note that the .pdf files will print as pristine as the original documents.

Background Information

Ramp and Flat Thrust Faulting.
      This kind of fault system is extremely common around the world. The Appalachians are this kind of system. And they are quite complex. This primer will give you enough introduction to understand what is going on.

Fractal Nature of Structural Geology
     You might also look at this to get an appreciation of the complexity of the structure.

Labeled Maps, Diagrams, etc.
from Notebook
   Selected Cratonic Basins on a Cambrian Base Map
   Rocky Mountain Tectonic Base Map
   High Plains Depositional Map

Appalachian Geology
     Information on Appalachian geology and geologic history is found at the Virginia Geology site. This site is specific to the Mid-Atlantic, and will not apply to the New England Appalachians. Below are specific links to specific topics discussed in class.

   Province Descriptions. Summary descriptions of the lithology, age, and structure of each province.
   Pre- and Post Alleghanian Orogeny. An argument and reconstruction for the changing locations of various Mid-Atlantic rocks via the Alleghanian orogeny.
   Pre- and Post Orogenic Cross Sections.
   Terrane Map. A map showing Taconic terranes in the piedmont of Virginia.
   Triassic Rift Basins. A map showing the exposed and buried Triassic rift basins, including the location of the Atlantic axial rift.

     And if you have not read the links above on the nature of thrust faulting, do so now.

   Ramp and Flat Thrust Faulting.
   Fractal Nature of Structural Geology

Archaean and Proterozoic Geology
     In this section we survey the geological evolution of the earth, concentrating first on the Archaean and Proterozoic. It requires drawing on every bit of knowledge you have about rocks and tectonics; and even knowledge you do not have. (And one of the reasons I teach this class is to help you get all that knowledge firmly in your mind.)
      The most compact syntheses of this knowledge is in the Wilson Cycle and Tectonic Rock Cycle, found in the links below. You should know, understand, and be able to intelligently describe, relate, or answer questions about anything in these pages. All these are the tools we use to talk about earth history. Or, by analogy, it is necessary knowledge, like knowing the alphabet before you can read.

   A Wilson Cycle - the cyclical opening and closing of an ocean basin, and generation of new continental crust.

   A Tectonic Rock Cycle - the most theoretically abstract model of how rocks evolve on the planet.

     A suggestion. On the top left of each site is a link to a self test. Try doing the self test first, just to find out how much you know, or don't know. It will also help focus your reading to extract, integrate, and understand what you are reading.