That the chalk was deposited in shallow, clear seas is indicated both by the character of the fossils other than foraminifera and by the relation of the chalk to the elastic portions of the series.
Spicules of sponges and fragments of other organisms, such as molluscs, polyzoa, foraminifera and brachiopods, often occur in flint, and may be partly or wholly silicified with retention of their original structure.
The abundance of corals in some of the Carboniferous seas and possibly also the large size of some of the Productids and foraminifera may be taken as evidence of warm or temperate waters.
The proportion of calcium carbonate varies greatly according to the amount of foraminifera and other calcareous organisms which it contains.
The old land area still existed to the north, but doubtless much reduced in height; against this land, detrital deposits still continued to be formed, as in Scotland; while over central Ireland and central and northern England the clearer waters of the sea furnished a suitable home for countless corals, brachiopods and foraminifera and great beds of sea lilies; sponges flourished in many parts of the sea, and their remains contributed largely to the formation of the beds of chert.
For the first time in the earth's history we find Foraminifera taking a prominent part in the marine faunas; the genus Fusulina was abundant in what is now Russia, China, Japan, North America; Valvulina had a wide range, as also had Endothyra and Archaediscus; Saccammina is a form well known in Britain and Belgium, and many others have been described; some Carboniferous genera are still extant.
The fossils from the Rhaetic beds belong to the Avicula contorta zone, those from the Lias to the Ammonites angulatus zone, while the blocks of limestone with chert contain Inoceramus, Cretaceous foraminifera and other organisms. The materials yielding these fossils are embedded in a course volcanic agglomerate which gives rise to crags and is pierced by acid and basic igneous ricks.