The marine facies of the later Tertiaries is confined to the neighbourhood of the coast, and was probably formed after the elevation of the Andes; but inland, freshwater deposits of this period are met with, especially in Patagonia.
The Lower Tertiaries are represented by three different formations known as the Thanet beds, the Woolwich and Reading beds, and the Oldhaven and Blackheath beds.
The middle series of the Lower Tertiaries, known as the Woolwich and Reading beds, rests either on the Thanet beds or on chalk, and consists chiefly of irregular alternations of clay and sand of very various colours, the former often containing estuarine and oyster shells and the latter flint pebbles.
The highest and most local series of the Lower Tertiaries is the Oldhaven and Blackheath beds lying between the London Clay and the Woolwich beds.
The question has been hotly debated whether, in addition to these six grades, there be not a seventh answering in some degree to the tertiaries of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, but secretly affiliated to the Society and acting as its emissaries in various lay positions.