This section is from the book "An Introduction To Geology", by William B. Scott. Also available from Amazon: An Introduction to Geology.
In the north of Europe the sea retreated from large areas; northern Germany was now dry land, with only a relatively small bay invading it, while England was entirely above water, anji has no marine Miocene beds. On the west coast of Europe, the Atlantic encroached largely, as in France, Spain, Portugal, and also the northwest of Africa. Spain was joined to Africa, but straits across northern Spain and southern France connected the Atlantic with the Mediterranean. Another change of great importance was the shutting off of the long-standing connection of the Mediterranean with the Indian seas. The former covered much of eastern Spain, and flooded the lower Rhone valley, sending an arm along the northern border of the Alps to the neighbourhood of Vienna. Here it expanded into a broad basin, connected with another great basin covering Hungary. Most of Italy, Sicily, and a large part of northern Asia Minor were under water, but the Adriatic and Aegean Seas were mostly land, and the Alps formed a chain of islands, mountainous, but not nearly so high as at present.
At the end of the Lower Miocene came a great upheaval of the Alps, by which the sea was again excluded from that region, and, just as in the Oligocene, inland seas and lakes took the place of the marine straits. The basins of Vienna and Hungary had a very complex history, with repeated changes of size and position, resulting in the formation of an immense inland sea (the Sarmatian Sea), which reached from Vienna to the Black, Aral, and Aegean Seas, and was nearly as large as the present Mediterranean. This vast basin had but a limited connection with the ocean, and represented conditions much like those of the Black Sea at present. Europe had also a number of fresh-water lakes, particularly in France, Switzerland, and Germany, which have preserved a very interesting record of Miocene land life. A comparison with that of North America shows that a way of migration was still open between the two continents. In the basin of the Ebro, in Spain, the Miocene consists of red sandstones and marls, with beds of gypsum and salt, demonstrating arid conditions which were no doubt only local.
In the Old World the Miocene was a time of mountain making. The Pyrenees had been elevated in the later Eocene; the Alps received nearly their present altitude in the Miocene. The Apennines had two distinct phases of upheaval, one in the Eocene and 3c one in the Miocene, the latter coinciding with that of the Alps. The Caucasus dates from the close of the Miocene, while the date of the Himalayas is yet uncertain, but was either Eocene, or Miocene.
Marine Miocene beds occur in north Africa, on the coast of the Soudan and in Asia Minor. In-Asia marine Miocene is known to be present in northwestern India, in Burmah and Japan, also in the island of Java.
The whole of Patagonia was submerged in a great transgression of a shallow, epicontinental sea, the Patagonian stage, and after some oscillation the sea withdrew and the terrestrial Santa Cruz beds were deposited. These are very largely composed of volcanic tuffs, but also contain cross-bedded sandstones and other fluviatile deposits. Marine deposits which are correlated with the Patagonian stage are on the west coast of Chili.
The Tertiary rocks of Australia and New Zealand which cover extensive regions, especially in Victoria, have not yet been definitely classified. Certain of these, usually referred to the Oligocene but more probably Lower Miocene, show so close a resemblance in their fossils to those of Patagonia, as to require the assumption of a continuous coast-line with South America, probably by way of Antarctica. The probability of this assumption is much strengthened by the occurrence of the marine Patagonian with its characteristic fossils in the South Shetland Islands, an Antarctic group.