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February 10, 2012
Ninety million years ago the chalk downland of Northern Europe was ooze accumulating at the bottom of a great sea. Protozoans such as foraminifera lived on the marine debris that showered down from the upper layers of the ocean.
Their shells were made of calcite extracted from the rich sea-water. As they died a deep layer gradually built up and eventually, through the weight of overlying sediments, became consolidated into rock. Later earth movements related to the formation of the Alps raised these former sea-floor deposits above sea leve