Paleontology and geology
Erosion of the Appalachian Mountains supplied much of the material that makes up the Tertiary rocks of South Carolina. Fossils from these rocks indicate that the climate of the Early Tertiary (Paleocene and Early Eocene) was warm and tropical. Worldwide cooling events generated a more moderate climate for South Carolina during the Late Eocene. But by the Middle Tertiary (Oligocene), the climate began to warm again, as evidenced by fossils of whales and large crocodiles. Various marine and terrestrial fossils show that the climate was tropical to subtropical, much like modern Florida, by the Late Tertiary (Pliocene). This map indicates a large expanse of Tertiary deposits in the central part of the state.