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The Geological History of New Jersey

                                     

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RETURN TO SEEDS

Phanerozoic means Evident Life
Proterozoic means Early Life
Archean means Ancient

Cenozoic means Recent Life, the Cenozoic Era is also known as the Age of Mammals
Mesozoic means Middle Life, the Mesozoic Era is also known as the Age of Reptiles
Paleozoic means Ancient Life

MYA = million years ago / BYA = Billion years ago

Numbers like these are impossible to imagine, especially when counted in years.
To help, if instead of years we counted in seconds, 1 million seconds ago would
be 11.5 days ago, while 1 billion seconds ago would be 32 years ago.

The events listed below represent the times that the events or organism first appeared in the fossil record.
Touch the blinking squares for more information.



Million Years Ago

Today


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1 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.1 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.2 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.3 BYA

















































































































































































































1.37 BYA

























































































1.4 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.5 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.6 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.7 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.8 BYA











































































































































































































































































































1.9 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.1 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.2 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.3 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.4 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.5 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.6 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.7 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.8 BYA











































































































































































































































































































2.9 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.1 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.2 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.3 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.4 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.5 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.6 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.7 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.8 BYA











































































































































































































































































































3.9 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4.1 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4.2 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4.3 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4.4 BYA











































































































































































































































































































4.5 BYA

Events



Present Day All of human history can be found within the thickness of the dashed line here!


Recent Ice Ages Begin The Ice Ages ended only 10,000 years ago.
Gigantopithecus

Homo habilis Widespread use of stone tools, Smilodon Sabre-tooth Tiger





Australopithecus "Lucy" Early human ancestor-named after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds


Earliest Mammoths Multiple finds in NJ
N. & S. American Land Bridge
forms / Mediterranean floods









Blue Whale appears


Giant Ground Sloth














NJ Miocene fossil collection Sampling of marine fossils from DIG IT! workshop








First Hominids appear





Megalodon The Great Shark, Parrots and Pigeons











Antarctic Ice Cap forms











Koalas

















First Monkeys, Alps Rise
Meteorite impact Toms Canyon Crater (6 mi diameter) 100 mi east of Atlantic City
Glacial Ages in South
Mississippi River forms





























Primates split into 2 groups














Antarctica & Australia Separate
Himalayan Mts. form
First bats & Eohippus Dawn Horse









Meteor impact creates
Chesapeake Bay

Rabbits and Hares





N. Atlantic Volcanic Activity








Rocky Mts. Form














K-T Extinction Event Nearly 75% of the species on Earth disappear, including the Dinosaurs!





Triceratops/T. rex! Not found in NJ.








Dryptosaurus A very rare NJ carnivorous dinosaur!











Hadrosaurus! The New Jersey State Dinosaur!

















World's oldest known bee! Found in New Jersey amber!














Velociraptor Not found in NJ














Flowering plants dominate
Modern sharks appear




World's oldest known ant! Found in New Jersey amber in 1998!
World's oldest known mushroom! Found in New Jersey amber!
Sayreville Amber Oldest known fossil tick, mosquito, moth and black fly!





















Cycle of sea level rise/fall shapes current coastal plain topography























































































































First flowering plants appear





























Archaeopteryx Not found in NJ.

















Allosaurus/Apatosaurus
Stegosaurus Western US dinos










Coniferous forests peak
Ginkgos appear Common street tree in NJ.













Pangaea begins breaking up
Atlantic ocean born! NJ separates from Africa


























































Watchung Mountains &
Palisades form Basaltic extrusions and intrusions respectively
















Eastern N. American volcanic
activity ends.






















Eastern N. American volcanic
activity begins.
Newark Supergroup forms NJ Dinosaur footprints!
Primitive crocodiles appear
Ramapo Fault forms No longer active
NJ Brownstone forms Unnofficial state rock of New Jersey



























Coelophysis/Dilophosaurus NJ Dinosaur footprint makers?











Manicouagan impact site Meteor crater in Canada














First Conifers


First "True" mammals appear














First dinosaurs & ferns
Continents move together! Forming the Supercontinent Pangaea







Icarosaurus NJ's gliding lizard






























































Mass Extinction! The Great Dying - Nearly 95% of all species on Earth disappear.





























Mammal-like reptiles appear





























Dimetrodon Sail-backed carnivore often mistaken for a dinosaur





























First beetles appear





























Alleghenian Orogeny




















First cycads








First egg-laying reptiles
and winged insects




















































































































































First sharks
First plants w/roots
Extensive coal deposits form (PA)



























Amphibians move onto land
Glacial period in Gondwana
- (S. Hemisphere)

























































Appalachians form Resembling the Rockies of today!
Acadian Orogeny ends


























































Plants surge onto the land























Acadian Orogeny begins


First jawed fish appear








Insects move onto the land








Earliest land plants (psilopsids)














Glacial period in Gondwana
- (S. Hemisphere)




























Waxy coated algae moves onto land









































Mass Extinction!














































Early Appalachian Orogeny



























































First fish appear (jawless)



























































Taconic Orogeny Uplifting and folding of the continental plates leaves the NJ Highland in their present position























First shellfish

































































Earliest chordates Animals with backbones
Burgess shale created! Famous fossil site in Canada


























































Trilobites appear





















































































































































Oxygen reaches present levels 21% of current atmosphere





















































































































































Supercontinent forms (Pannotia)
400 day year
Worldwide glacial period

























































































Soft-bodied marine invertebrates

























































Zoophytes appear Single celled organisms that resemble animals and plants





















































































































































First multi-celled organisms
Panthalassic Ocean forms




















































































































































Protozoans abundant First single-celled consumers





















































































































































First evidence of cell division









































































































































































































































































































































Pompton Pink Granite formed NJ's Prized Building Stone























































































































Grenville Orogeny 15,000 ft high mountains rise over what is now the NJ Highlands - the weight of which crushes the bedrock into metamorphic gneiss, marble and schist











































































































































































































































































































Supercontinent (Rodinia)











































































































































































































































































































NJ Stromatolites Stromatolites found in the Franklin Marble, New Jersey Highlands
NJ graphite deposits form mined in NJ from colonial times till the 1930's for multiple industrial uses










































































































































































































































































































First multicellular algae

















































































































































































































Oldest Rocks in NJ Outcrop of NJ Oldest Rocks
















































































































































































































































First Eukaryotic cells

































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Last banded iron formations


































































































































































































































































































Hudsonian Orogeny








Supercontinent















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































End of iron formation

Supercontinent



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Major banded iron formation
starts
Widespread glaciation























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Stromatolites reign as
most visible life form Blue-Green Algae







Oxygen build-ups in atmosphere































































































































































































































































































Kenoran Orogeny


Supercontinent











































































































































































































































































































Earliest definite evidence of
cellular life Canadian and Australia fossils










































































































































































































































































































Tidal & monthly cycles stabilize
500 days per year
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Laurentian Orogeny





















































































































































Lichen-like slimes!



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Uivakian Orogeny







Microfossil sites found in
Australia and Swaziland may be
single-celled bacteria





















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Possible evidence of
fossil algea










































































































































































































































































































Cell-like inclusions found
in rocks in Greenland


Atmosphere & Hydrosphere
begin to form





















































































































































Time of heavy meteoric
bombardment comes to an end















































































































































Theoretical time of the
formation of the first cells!









































































































































































































































































































































Acasta Gniess - Canada Oldest known rocks on Earth 4,031,000,000 YA




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Interior layers of the Earth differentiate




























































































































































































































































































































Jack Hills Zircons - Australia Oldest known minerals on Earth 4,406,000,000 YA

























































































































































































































































































Earth molten at this time.
Proto-earth may have formed
100 million years earlier!
Geologic Time
PERIODS



NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Musk oxen, Reindeer, Mastadon, Plants, Marine Invertebrates, Horses, Bison, Peccaries, Walruses, Moose, Ground Sloths


QUATERNARY
-----------------------
TERTIARY


NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Plants, Marine Invertebrates, Turtles, Crocodiles, Fishes, Birds, Tapirs, Giant Hogs, Peccaries, Rhinoceroses

























































































































































































TERTIARY
-----------------------
CRETACEOUS


NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Marine Invertebrates, Sharks, Plesiosaurs, Mosasaurs, Turtles, Crocodiles, Meat-Eating Dinosaurs, Plant-Eating Dinosaurs







































































































































































































































CRETACEOUS
-----------------------
JURASSIC


NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Fragmentory Reptiles




















































































































































































JURASSIC
-----------------------
TRIASSIC


NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Plants, Fresh Water Invertebrates, Fishes, Giant Amphibians, Phytosaurs, Gliding Lizards, Dinosaur Foot-Prints





















































































































TRIASSIC
-----------------------
PERMIAN



























































































































PERMIAN
-----------------------
CARBONIFEROUS
  • Pennsylvanian































































































  • Pennsylvanian
    -----------------------
  • Mississippian

























































































  • Mississippian
    CARBONIFEROUS

    -----------------------
    DEVONIAN


    NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Trilobites, Mollusks, Brachiopods, Echinoderms, Corals























































































































































































    DEVONIAN
    -----------------------
    SILURIAN


    NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Mollusks, Worms, Brachiopods, Trilobites, Echinoderms, Bryozoans, Graptolites, Corals








































































    SILURIAN
    -----------------------
    ORDOVICIAN


    NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Trilobites, Mollusks, Brachiopods, Echinoderms, Bryozoans, Corals, Graptolites, Sponges, Algae







































































































































    ORDOVICIAN
    -----------------------
    CAMBRIAN


    NJ Fossil Record from this Period includes: Trilobites, Brachiopods, Sponges, Algae, Worm Tubes-possibly the oldest fossils in NJ

























































































































































    CAMBRIAN
    -----------------------
    NEOPROTEROZOIC












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    NEOPROTEROZOIC
    -----------------------
    MESOPROTEROZOIC

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    MESOPROTEROZOIC
    -----------------------
    PALEOPROTEROZOIC









































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    PALEOPROTEROZOIC
    -----------------------
    PERIODS are not
    used before this time!
  • Geologic Time
    ERAS




































































































































































































    CENOZOIC
    -----------------------
    MESOZOIC































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    MESOZOIC
    -----------------------
    PALEOZOIC


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    PALEOZOIC
    -----------------------
    PROTEROZOIC












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    PROTEROZOIC
    -----------------------
    ARCHAEAN

























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    ARCHAEAN
    -----------------------
    HADEAN

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    HADEAN
    -----------------------
    ERAS are not
    used before this time!
    Geologic Time
    EONS

    Present Day







































    15 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page






























































































































































































    15 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page








































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    245 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page





























































































































































































    310 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page




















































































































    350 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page




































































    375 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page




































































































































    420 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page










































































































































































































































    500 mya - See Color KEY at bottom of page





























































































































    PHANEROZOIC
    -----------------------
    PRECAMBRIAN




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































    PRECAMBRIAN
    -----------------------
    EONS are not
    used before this time!

    The sun formed about 100 million years earlier from material
    left over from a star that exploded millions of years before.
    Some meteoric materials Example: Allende fall, Mexico, 1969 date from this time.

    The events and times listed on this website are taken from multiple sources, and discrepancies and
    errors are due to the difficulties in accurately dating fossils and the source materials often are generalized.
    Please accept the data above as it is intended; as an uncondensed representation of the history of the Earth.

    For a listing of FOSSIL SITES IN NEW JERSEY click HERE.


    Click HERE for the text and further readings from the Prehistoric Life of New Jersey poster.

    Color KEY for geologic maps
    ""