Berggren, William A. Department of Geological Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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- Stratigraphy and history
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The older major subdivision (period) of the Cenozoic Era, extending from the Cretaceous (top of the Mesozoic Era) to the beginning of the Quaternary (younger Cenozoic Period). The term Tertiary corresponds to all the rocks and fossils formed during this period (Fig. 1). Although the International Commission on Stratigraphy uses the terms Paleogene and Neogene (pre-Quaternary part) instead, Tertiary is still widely used in the geologic literature. Typical sedimentary rocks include widespread limestones, sandstones, mudstones, marls, and conglomerates deposited in both marine and terrestrial environments; igneous rocks include extrusive and intrusive volcanics as well as rocks formed deep in the Earth's crust (plutonic). See also: Cretaceous; Fossil; Rock
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