An important geological characteristic of most of the Cordilferan region is that the Carboniferous strata, which in western Europe and the eastern United States contain many coal seams, are represented in the western United States by a marine limestone; and that the important unconformity which in Europe and the eastern United States separates the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic eras does not occur in the western United States, where the formations over a great area follow in conformable sequence from early Palaeozoic through the Mesozoic.
From the Permian to the Lias the sequence in the central Himalaya shows no sign of a break, nor has any unconformity been proved between the Liassic beds and the overlying Spiti shales, which contain fossils of Middle and Upper Jurassic age.
This unconformity is generally found about the same horizon in the continental Culm areas, and it occurs again in the western part of the English Culm.
There is in some places an unconformity between the Richmond beds (or their equivalent) and underlying formations, and this unconformity, together with certain palaeontological considerations, has raised the question whether the uppermost part of the system, as outlined above, should not be classed as Silurian (Upper Silurian).
From the absence of any well-marked unconformity it is evident that in the northern part of the Himalayan belt, at least in the Spiti area, there can have been no post-Archaean folding of any magnitude until after the deposition of the Nummulitic beds, and that the folding was completed before the later Tertiaries of Hundes were laid down.
The extent of the unconformity is usually significant of the geographic changes of the interval unrecorded by known Proterozoic rocks.