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The Paleogene Period, the oldest of the three divisions, commences at the onset of the Cenozoic Era and includes the Paleocene Epoch (66 million to 56 million years ago), the Eocene Epoch (56 million to 33.9 million years ago), and the Oligocene Epoch (33.9 million to 23 million years ago).The Neogene spans the interval between the beginning of the Miocene Epoch (23 million to 5.3 million years ago) and the end of the Pliocene Epoch (5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago).
The GSSP associated with the Miocene-Pliocene boundary is located in Sicily and has been dated to about 5.3 million years ago, although the location of this boundary may be repositioned in the future.
The boundary between the Pliocene and the Pleistocene, separating the Neogene and Quaternary systems, has been stratotyped in Sicily near the town of Gela and dated to approximately 2.6 million years ago.
With the exception of the vast Tethys seaway, the basins of western Europe, and the extensive Mississippi Embayment of the Gulf Coast region in the United States, Tertiary marine deposits are located predominantly along continental margins and occur on all continents.
Volcanism has continued throughout the Cenozoic on land and at the major oceanic ridges, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the East Pacific Rise, where new seafloor is continuously generated and carried away laterally by seafloor spreading.
Iceland, which was formed in the middle Miocene, is one of the few places where the processes that occur at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge can be observed today.
Miocene deposits are found as far north as Alaska; Eocene deposits are found in eastern Canada; and Paleocene deposits are located in Greenland.