The NE German Basin contains approximately 2.5 km of Rotliegend sediments, subdivided into four formations. These were deposited following the cessation of the Late Carboniferous/Early Permian volcanic episode and a c. 20 Ma period of erosion and non-deposition. Initial deposition was confined to two areas, but with increasing thermal subsidence the basin extended to the south. Petrographic and geochemical analyses suggest that the sediments are derived largely from cratonic or recycled sources. Volcanic and sedimentary rock fragments predominate. The succession was deposited in a relatively stable tectonic environment with sediment input derived largely from the Lower and Upper Palaeozoic strata of the Variscan hinterland and the Late Carboniferous and Lower Permian volcanics. Hydrocarbon prospectivity is confined to two main areas, with traps being predominantly stratigraphic and subtle.