Paleontology and geology
The supercontinent of Pangea began to break apart during the Triassic. Along eastern North America, this separation was marked by the formation of numerous basins, as the Earth’s crust dropped downward along faults. The Newark Rift Basin that developed in New Jersey is a good example of one of these rift basins. Large lakes formed in many of the basins, supporting a varied fish population. Skulls and skeletons of crocodile-like phytosaurs and the horned lizard-like Hypsognathus typify the early reptiles that roamed the mudflats surrounding these lakes. Evidence of burrowing worms is recorded by the widespread occurrence of the trace fossil Planolites. This map indicates the presence of Triassic rocks primarily in the northern part of the state.