A specific near-universal structural control for Mesozoic basin formation is apparent within the Appalachians as a preexisting system of high-angle reverse and dextral strike-slip faults of late Paleozoic and older age. These discrete crustal discontinuities, rather than just the general structural grain, were reactivated during extension associated with Late Triassic-Early Jurassic rifting between eastern North America and western Africa. Selective reactivation of high-angle fault exposures, as well as the subsurface reactivation of horizontal thrust surfaces, has played an important role in localizing rift basin formation in eastern North America.

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