Title Page
 Regional setting
 Geologic discussion
 Geologic history
 Ground water
 Maps and charts

Geology and groundwater of Madison County ( FGS: Open file report 12 )
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001011/00001
 Material Information
Title: Geology and groundwater of Madison County ( FGS: Open file report 12 )
Series Title: ( FGS: Open file report 12 )
Physical Description: 1 v. (unpaged) : ill., maps ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hoenstine, Ronald W
Spencer, Steve, 1954-
Florida Geological Survey
Publisher: Florida Geological Survey
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1986
Subjects / Keywords: Geology -- Florida -- Madison County   ( lcsh )
Aquifers -- Florida -- Madison County   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Ronald W. Hoenstine and Steven M. Spencer.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management:
The author dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law and all related or neighboring legal rights he or she had in the work, to the extent allowable by law.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001545489
oclc - 22438873
notis - AHF9009
System ID: UF00001011:00001

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Regional setting
        Page 1
    Geologic discussion
        Page 2 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Geologic history
        Page 8 (MULTIPLE)
    Ground water
        Page 9 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Maps and charts
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text


[year of publication as printed] Florida Geological Survey [source text]

The Florida Geological Survey holds all rights to the source text of
this electronic resource on behalf of the State of Florida. The
Florida Geological Survey shall be considered the copyright holder
for the text of this publication.

Under the Statutes of the State of Florida (FS 257.05; 257.105, and
377.075), the Florida Geologic Survey (Tallahassee, FL), publisher of
the Florida Geologic Survey, as a division of state government,
makes its documents public (i.e., published) and extends to the
state's official agencies and libraries, including the University of
Florida's Smathers Libraries, rights of reproduction.

The Florida Geological Survey has made its publications available to
the University of Florida, on behalf of the State University System of
Florida, for the purpose of digitization and Internet distribution.

The Florida Geological Survey reserves all rights to its publications.
All uses, excluding those made under "fair use" provisions of U.S.
copyright legislation (U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 107), are
restricted. Contact the Florida Geological Survey for additional
information and permissions.

State of Florida
Department of Natural Resources
Elton J. Gissendanner, Executive Director

Division of Resource Management
Art Wilde, Director

Florida Geological Survey
Walter Schmidt, Chief

Open File Report 12

Geology and Groundwater of Madison County


Ronald W. Hoenstine and Steven M. Spencer

Florida Geological Survey
Tallahassee, Florida

3 1262 04543 6325

O.D ...
I, **


By Ronald W. Hoenstine and Steven M. Spencer

Florida Geological Survey

Tallahassee, Florida 32304


Located in the eastern part of the Florida panhandle, Madison County

encompasses a transitional geologic area that separates the thick Tertiary

carbonate sediments characteristic of the Florida peninsula from the pre-

dominant age equivalent plastic sediments of western Florida. This area is

underlain by thick limestone deposits of Oligocene and Eocene age which in

turn are covered by younger limestones, dolomites, sands and clays in the

northern half of the county.

Two major physiographic divisions occur within Madison County. As

proposed by Purl and Vernon (1964), these divisions include the Northern

Highlands and the Coastal Lowlands (figure 1). The Northern Highlands

extend over the northern two-thirds of the county while the Coastal Lowlands

occupy the remaining third of Madison County.

The boundary between these two divisions occurs at a southward-facing

escarpment named the Cody Scarp (Puri and Vernon, 1964). This escarpment

is considered to be one of the most persistent topographic breaks in Florida.

Easily observed to the west in Jefferson County, the trend of the Cody Scarp

in Madison County is irregular and frequently difficult to observe.

However, a series of N-S surface elevation profiles shows a distinct break

at the 100' contour. This 100' elevation, which was used by Crane, 1983

and Cooke, 1939, is also used in this report to define the Cody Scarp in

Madison County.

Florida Bureau of Geology Library
903 W. Tennessee St.
Tallahassee, FL 32304

Extending over parts of several counties in Florida and Georgia the

Northern Highlands in Madison County includes all of the area north of the

Cody Scarp (figure 1). This physiographic region includes a prominent phy-

siographic feature known as the Tallahassee Hills, which in the study area

lies between the Florida-Georgia state line on the north and the Gulf

Coastal Lowlands on the'south (figure 1). The Tallahassee Hills are

erosional-remnant hills and ridges with elevations as high as 230 feet in

Madison County. Occurring extensively throughout the northern two-thirds

of Madison County, these hills and ridges are characterized by gently slo-

pes and rounded tops. Although the Tallahassee Hills in this area have

been highly dissected by stream erosion and subsurface solution, they pro-

bably once represented a nearly flat Miocene delta plain that covered all

of northern Madison County.

With markedly lower elevations, the other major physiographic region,

the Gulf Coastal Lowlands occurs in Madison County in an area bounded to

the north by the Cody Scarp and south by the Taylor and Lafayette county

lines. Features located, within the Gulf Coastal Lowlands include the

Wicomico Terrace, which coincides with the top of the Cody Scarp in Madison

County, occurring at the 100 feet elevation, San Pedro Bay and the River

Valley Lowlands associated with the Suwannee, Withlacoochee and Aucilla

rivers. Numerous tributaries in the form of small streams and creeks that

originate in the adjoining Tallahassee Hills flow into these rivers.

Although extending into the Northern Highlands, these river valley lowlands

are placed in the Gulf Coastal Lowland province on the basis of their

lowest elevation (Ceryak, et al., 1983).


The sediments that occur in Madison County range in age from Paleozoic

to Recent. To date, the deepest penetration of subsurface sediments in the

I I II -

study area occurred at a depth of 10,150 feet (MSL). These sediments ob-

tained from n .oil test well (P-1033) were identified as Paleozoic quart-

zitic sandstones deposited hundreds of millions of years ago. In contrast,

surface and near-surface occurrences include unconsolidated sands,

limestone and highly indurated dolomites ranging in age from the Eocene

Epoch (36 to 58 million years ago) to the Recent. The oldest surface

outcrops are dolomite and limestone belonging to the Eocene Epoch (40 to 38

million years ago). A short geologic discussion of the near-surface and

surface sediments follows.


The Ocala Group Limestones, which were deposited during the Eocene

Epoch (40 to 38 million years ago), represent the oldest sediments exposed

in Madison County. These limestones, which form an integral part of the

Floridan Aquifer, occur at varying depths throughout the county. The Ocala

Group Limestone is generally a pale orange, poor to moderately indurated,

moderately to high porous, microfossiliferous, partially dolomitized, par-

tially recrystallized limestone (calcarenite). The occurrence of the

distinctive foraminifera genera Lepidocyclina is common to abundant and
often used as a guide in distinguishing this formation from the overlying

younger Suwannee Formation.

Unfortunately, few wells in Madison County penetrate these sediments.

However, in the vicinity of the City of Madison, the top of the Ocala was

found to occur at -100 feet (MSL). Varying in thickness throughout the

county, it was present in the interval from 200 to 385 feet below land sur-

face, a thickness of 185 feet in a well (W-2549) near the City of Madison.

These sediments are unconformably underlain by the Avon Park Limestone and

overlain unconformably by the Oligocene age Suwannee Limestone.


Exposures of limestone and dolomites belonging to the Suwannee

Limestone Formation, that was deposited during the Oligocene Epoch, occur

along the Suwannee River at Ellaville. The Suwannee Limestone lies uncon-

formably upon the Ocala group limestone and unconformably underlies the St.

Marks or Hawthorn Formation. Where the St. Marks and Hawthorn Formation

are absent, it underlies the younger Miccosukee Formation. In parts of

southern and southeastern Madison County, the Suwannee is covered by

Pleistocene deposits and scattered outliers of the Hawthorn Formation.

The Suwannee Formation is a marine limestone consisting of a partially

recrystallized limestone (calcarenite). It is very pale orange, finely

crystalline, moderate to well indurated, with moderate to good porosity and

very fossiliferous. Chemical tests indicate a composition that is nearly

97 percent CaCO3.

In various locations such as along the Suwannee River at Ellaville,

the top of the formation is silicified at the land surface and near subsur-

face. It has been observed from well cuttings that dolomitization of the

limestone has occurred in the subsurface at different depths. This process

of secondary dolomitization can also be readily observed in the outcrop

area along the Aucilla River.

Measurements of the formation's thickness are approximated because most

of the information available is from wells that terminate in the Suwannee.

The maximum thickness encountered in a core was in W-15515 located in T2N,

R8E, Sec. 5 ca, in which 157 feet of limestone was penetrated. Fossili-

ferous outcrops of this formation can be observed along the Suwannee River

from White Springs to Ellaville.

The Suwannee Limestone, in many areas, is covered by a thin veneer of


The Hawthorn Formation consists of pale olive to moderate yellow,

sandy, waxey, phosphatic clays and sands. The clay contains phosphorite

grains and is interbedded with very fine to medium, clayey quartz sands

that also contain phosphorite. The clays and sands are frequently cherty

and often associated with stringers of sandy calcilutites.

Variable in thickness, the Hawthorn Formation was observed to pinch

out to the east and southeast of Madison County along the Suwannee River.

In contrast, Hawthorn sediments on the western side of Madison County are

significantly thicker. The thickest section of Hawthorn deposits observed,

occurred in a core (W-6558) near State Road 90 where a thickness of 142

feet was encountered. Surface outcrops of Hawthorn sediments occur on the

eastern side of the county along the Withlacoochee River.

In southeastern Madison, northeastern Taylor and northwestern Lafayette

counties, Hawthorn clays underlie a broad low area known as San Pedro Bay.

These clays inhibit the downward percolation of water resulting in exten-

sive swampy conditions throughout the area.

The Hawthorn Formation lies unconformably upon either the St. Marks

Formation or the Suwannee Limestone. It is in turn overlain by the Micco-

sukee Formation or, where absent, by Pleistocene sands.


A prominent feature throughout the county is the varicolored, hetero-

geneous complex of sediments referred to as the Miccosukee Formation.

Overlying the Hawthorn Formation, the Miccosukee Formation is generally

Pleistocene sand. However, from just below Lamont to just north of Nutall

Rise, it is almost continually exposed along the banks of the Aucilla River

either as siliclfied boulders or as massive dolomite beds. Both the dolo-

mite beds and the silicified boulders often form rapids along the river.


Early Miocene sediments unconformably overlie the Suwannee Limestone

in many parts of Madison County. These sediments, which form the St. Marks

Formation, are white to very pale orange, finely crystalline, sandy, silty,

clayey limestone (calcilutite). The St. Marks is poor to well indurated,

has low to medium porosity, contains molluscan casts and a few species of

foraminifera (Sorites sp., Archalas floridanus). The calcilutite has been

partially dolomitized and silicified in the subsurface. In a sinkhole in

Lee, Florida, the St. Marks occurs as a partially recrystallized limestone


In contrast to the underlying Suwannee Limestone, the St. Marks sedi-

ments do not occur in all parts of Madison County but have sporadic occur-

rences (cross sections A-A',B-8' and C-C', figures 2, 3 and 4). St. Marks

outcrops are rare as the greater part of the deposits are covered by

younger sediments. The only exposure observed in Madison County occurs in

a sinkhole, behind the Methodist Church in Lee, Florida.

The cross sections in figures 2, 3 and 4 show the variability of the

St. Marks throughout the study area. Sediment thickness varies from very

thin to absent in the central part of the county to a maximum observed

thickness of 39feet in a core (W-15537) drilled in north central Madison

County In an area west of Cherry Lake.

Overlying the St. Marks Formation are the younger Miocene sediments

known as the Hawthorn Formation. These sediments are present in the sub-

surface over most of Madison County.

present in Madison County except in the south and southeastern parts of the

The Miccosukee is an aggregate of lenticular clayey sands and clay

beds which individually can be traced laterally for only short distances.

These sediments are moderately sorted to poorly sorted, coarse to fine-

grained, varicolored, clayey, quartz sand and montmorillonitic, kaolinitic,

varicolored, sandy clays. The frequently crossbedded sands contained

crossbedded thin laminae of white to light gray clay. X-ray diffraction

patterns indicate that the laminae associated with both quartz sands is


The Miccosukee sediments are in many places deeply weathered laterites.

Having experienced intense weathering, the bedding that was once present

has been destroyed, giving exposed sediments a massive appearance. The

Miccosukee is extremely variable in thickness, a condition attributed in

part to extensive weathering and associated erosion. A maximum thickness

of 80 feet was encountered in the west central part of the county in core

(W-6558), suggesting that the top of some of the highest hills may repre-

sent the original depositional surface. Similar thicknesses were observed

in well cuttings In the same general area along State Road 90.

The formation can be observed in numerous roadcuts throughout the

northern part of the county. The type locality of this formation can be

seen at a roadcut on the east side of U. S. Highway 19, about 3.1 miles

south of the Georgia-Florida State line in neighboring Jefferson County.

The sediments in this section illustrate rapid sedimentation changes in-

cluding channel cut and fill features of a deltaic environment.


Surficial sediments of Pliocene/Pleistocene age form much of the land

surface in the south and southeastern part of the county. Less widespread

sediments of Recent age are confined primarily to the present stream


The Pliocene/Pleistocene deposits forming the Gulf Coastal Lowlands

south of the Cody Sharp are very fine to medium quartz sands with blue-

green to light olive, montmorillonitic clay lenses. The Recent sediments

are essentially reworked Pleistocene quartz sands and quartz sands derived

from the Miccosukee Formation.

The Pleistocene deposits range in thickness from a feather edge: in the.

southeastern part of the county to 35 feet in well (W-705) which is located

5 miles southeast of the town of Lamont at the toe of the Cody Scarp.

These sediments are extremely variable in thickness throughout southern

Madison County and essentially absent in the northern part of the county.

These sediments unconformably overlie the St. Marks Formation and the

Suwannee Limestone in the southern part of the county.


From the beginning of Late Cretaceous until early Middle Eocene, Madi-

son County was an area of plastic deposition. However, changes in the

depositlonal environment occurred at the beginning of the early Middle

Eocene resulting in carbonates becoming the dominant sediment.

It was during this time that the Middle Eocene, Lake City Limestone,

the Eocene Ocala Group limestone and the Oligocene Suwannee Limestone were

deposited. These limestone formations were deposited in a warm, shallow,

open sea.

At the close of the Oligocene Epoch, a period of predominantly plastic

sedimentation took place. Later, the St. Marks Formation was deposited by

encroaching Early Miocene seas.

An influx of plastic sediments generally masked carbonate deposition

during the Middle Miocene. It was at this time that the Hawthorn Formation

consisting primarily of phosphatic sands and clays, was being deposited.

At the cessation of Hawthorn deposition, the predominantly marine environ-

ment changed to a deltaic environment. The Miccosukee deposits forming

this delta complex are widespread, covering parts of Madison, Jefferson,

Leon and Gadsden counties. The age of these deposits has been established,

at least in part, as Late Miocene on the basis of land mammals found in

Jefferson County.

The beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch saw the return of the seas over

much of Madison County resulting in the formation of the Gulf Coastal Low-

lands in the southern part of the county. It was during this time that the

Aucilla River in addition to many of the creeks were formed. Other changes

included the erosion and subsequent removal of most of the St. Marks For-

mation from the Gulf Coastal Lowlands.

Sea level has been fairly stationary since the beginning of the Recent

Epoch. Deposition presently occurring in Madison County is restricted to

alluvium along the many streams and peat and mud in the lakes and coastal



The Floridan Aquifer is the principal water-bearing unit in Madison

County. It includes all of the Middle Eocene to Early Miocene formations.

Intermediate aquifers are present in northern Madison County. These

aquifers occur within discontinuous units of limestone, dolomite and sand

that form the Hawthorn Formation. Although the amount of water obtained

from the intermediate aquifers are minimal compared to the underlying

Floridan Aquifer it may be sufficient for small domestic supplies. In

addition, the quality of water in the intermediate aquifer is diminished

relative to the Floridan by the presence of more dissolved solids.

Other sources of water include water table aquifers that occur within

the surficial sand deposits at higher elevations. These aquifers receive

recharge primarily from rainfall or through upward percolation of under-

lying aquifers when their potentiometric surfaces are higher than that of

the water table. Water quality in these aquifers is diminished due to the

high concentration of iron.


Ceryak, R., M. S. Knapp, and.T. Burnson, 1983, Florida Bureau of Geology
in cooperation with the Suwannee River Water Managemen District, The
Geology and Water Resources of the Upper Suwannee River Basin,
Florida: Florida Bureau of Geology, RI 87.

Crane, J-, J., 1983, An Investigation of the Geology, Hydrogeology and Hydro-
chemistry of the Lower Suwannee River Basin: Florida Bureau of Geology,
in preparation.

Cooke, C. W., 1939, Scenery of Florida Interpreted by a Geologist: Florida
Geological Survey, Bull. 17.

Pressler, E. D., 1947, Geology and Occurrence of Oil in Florida: Am. Assoc.
Petroleum Geologists Bull., v. 31, pp. 1851-1862.

Puri, H. S. and Vernon, R. 0., 1964, Summary of the Geology of Florida and
a Guidebook to the Classic Exposures: Florida Geological Survey Spe-
cial Publication 5 Revised.

Vernon, R. 0., 1951, Geology of Citrus and Levy Counties, Florida: Florida
Geological Survey, Bull. 33.

Yon, J. W., 1966, Geology of Jefferson County, Florida: Florida Geological
Survey, Bull. 48.

r.-----. GEORGIA

CD F- i

rm. _--'

(Tallahassee Hills)




San Pedro

I A."










200 W15515 ELEV. 185
E LEV. 170 T3N R9E S32
A W15728
50 W10480 T3N RI0E S33
S4, ELEV.83 W13989
S T3N ROE Lo120 ELEV. 100 +
T2N R10i S1

10 CL A STM-.






/ B

,,lywANNL t


I \


*S W6558
ELEV. 116

W2548 W15803
ELEV 143.5 ELEV. 1 *-
TIN RAE S33 ri N RE 34

ELEV 110 *






I LI V b '
; H I i i tv

. 7

10.75 M es aprox


LLEV. 170
T2N R8E S5

ELEV. 135
T2N RBE 522

ELEV. 99



ELEV 160
TIN H9h 534


E LEV. 97
T1S R9E S25






T2S R101 527