The Mesozoic Era, Triassic Period: From the Hudson River westward to the crystalline rocks of the New Jersey highlands occur a thick series of reddish brown sandstones, shales, and called the Newark group, which dip 10 to 15 degrees to the northwest. Near Philadelphia, Trenton, and New Brunswick, the Stockton, Locatong, and Brunswick formations have been differentiated, but not beneath the glacial drift cover to the northeastward. These sedimentary rocks were deposited in a trough or graben with faulted margins which extended southwestward from the Hudson River across central New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland into southern Virginia. In all probability a major stream with lateral tributaries occupied the depression. The region was presumably high and arid. Ripple marks, mud cracks, rain drop impressions, and footprints of reptiles are common, especially in the Brunswick shale, and indicate flood plain and shallow water deposition. Restorations of the dinosaurs Stegomus, Anomoepus. Podokesaurus, Anchisaurus, and Rutiodon (Rhytidodon), which inhabited this zone and the Connecticut Valley, are shown in accompanying illustrations. Only one skeleton, the Fort Lee Rutiodon, has been found near New York City. Fossil fishes and a small crustacean, Estheria ovata, have also been found. The fossil remains indicate Triassic age, the initial period of the Mesozoic Era, sometimes called the Age of Reptiles.
The Palisade diabase is a great sheet of igneous rock, from 50 to 1000 feet thick, which was intruded among the lower strata of the Newark group. It extends from Staten Island northward along the west bank of the Hudson River to Haverstraw. At its southern exposed extremity it is practically at sea level, while at the north it is 700 feet higher. Throughout most of its extent it presents an escarpment of high cliffs with vertical columns of rock which were developed during the cooling stage and which suggest the name Palisades.