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Regional structure and stratigraphy of the limestone outcrop belt in the Florida panhandle ( FGS: Report of investigation 86
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 Material Information
Title: Regional structure and stratigraphy of the limestone outcrop belt in the Florida panhandle ( FGS: Report of investigation 86
Series Title: ( FGS: Report of investigation 86 )
Physical Description: vii, 25 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Schmidt, Walter, 1950-
Coe, Curtis ( joint author )
Publisher: Bureau of Geology
Place of Publication: Tallahassee ;
Publication Date: 1978
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Limestone -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Walter Schmidt and Curtis Coe.
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 25.
 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 - 000089981
oclc - 05760962
notis - AAK5369
System ID: UF00001273:00001

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STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Harmon Shields, Executive Director



DIVISION OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Charles M. Sanders, Director


BUREAU OF GEOLOGY
Charles W. Hendry, Jr., Chief



REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86



REGIONAL STRUCTURE AND STRATIGRAPHY OF
THE LIMESTONE OUTCROP BELT
IN THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
by
Walter Schmidt and Curtis Coe



Prepared by the
BUREAU OF GEOLOGY
DIVISION OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Tallahassee
1978




C.. E









DEPARTMENT
OF
NATURAL RESOURCES


REUBIN O'D ASKEW
Governor


BRUCE A. SMATHERS
Secretary of State



BILL GUNTER
Treasurer



RALPH D. TURLINGTON
Commissioner of Education


ROBERT L. SHEVIN
Attorney General



GERALD A. LEWIS
Comptroller



DOYLE CONNER
Commlnissioner of Agriculture


HARMON W. SHIELDS
Executive Director






LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


Bureau of Geology
Tallahassee
September 12, 1978



Governor Reubin O'D Askew, Chairman
Florida Department of Natural Resources
Tallahassee, Florida 32304


Dear Governor Askew:

The Bureau of Geology, Division of Resource Management, De-
partment of Natural Resources, is publishing as its Report of Investiga-
tions No. 86, "Regional Structure and Stratigraphy of the Limestone
Outcrop Belt in the Florida Panhandle."
This investigation is a portion of the continuing program of mapping
the Geology of Florida and is an extension of earlier studies made in
this area. New data have made these correlations possible, increasing
our knowledge of the geologic framework of the area for resource
development and management.
Respectfully yours,


Charles W. Hendry, Jr., Chief
Bureau of Geology















































Completed manuscript received
1978
Printed for the
Florida Department of Natural Resources
Division of Resource Management
Bureau of Geology
Tallahassee
1978




iv






CONTENTS
Page
Introduction ..................... ......... ...... ...... .............. 1
Previous Geologic Investigations ................ ......................... 3
Methods of Invest attion .................... .... .. .... ................. 4
Description of the Area ............... .. ............... .............. 4
Tertiary Structure ................. ................... ..... .. ................. 6
Tertiary Stratigraphy ........... .............. ....................... 10
Physiography and Economic Geology .........................................23
Selected References ................. ...... ...... .. ....... .............. 25





ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1 Location of Study Area .................................. ............ 2
2 Isopach Map of Clastics Overlying Limestone ......................... 5
3 Structure Contour Map on top of the Tampa Limestone ..................... 7
4 Structure Contour Map on top of the Suwannee Limestone ............... 8
5 Structure Contour Map on top of the Ocala Limestone .................... 9
6 Location of Geologic Cross Sections .........,,,,,,.... .................. 13
7 Geologic Cross Section (Washington County) A-A' ...................... 14
8 Geologic Cross Section (Holmes and Washington Counties) B-B' .......... 15
9 Geologic Cross Section (Holmes and Washington Counties) C-C' ....... 16
10 Geologic Cross Section (Jackson County) D-D' ....................... 17
11 Geologic Cross Section (Holmes County) E-E',.............. ............ 18
12 Geologic Cross Section (Jackson County) F-F' ............,............ 19
13 Geologic Cross Section (Holmes and Washington Counties) GmG' ......... 20
1- Geologic Cross Section (Jackson County) H-H' ....,,,,................. 21
15 Physiographic Features .........,,.... ,, ,............,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,2





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors wish to thank the geologic staff of the Florida
Bureau of Geology who offered many suggestions during the prep-
aration of this report, and the citizens of Holmes, Washington and
Jackson Counties, who were very cooperative and helpful.








INTRODUCTION
Holmes, Washington, and Jackson counties are located in north-
west Florida and their combined area is 2,073 square miles. The area
is bounded by Walton County to the west, Bay and Calhoun counties
to the south, Georgia across the Chattahoochee River to the east, and
the State of Alabama to the north. Elevations range from less than 50
feet above sea level in the river valleys to over 300 feet on the higher
hills.
The three-county area lies within the Coastal Plain Province,
and topographically has been subdivided (Puri and Vernon, 1964)
into the Marianna Lowlands, the Western Highlands, the Choc-
tawhatchee, Chipola and Apalachicola River Valleys, the New Hope
and Grand Ridges, and numerous small hills which exist within the
Marianna Lowlands. The rocks that crop out in the area range from
upper Eocene to Pliocene-Pleistocene in age. Holmes, Washington
and Jackson counties are structurally high relative to the rest of the
Florida Panhandle.







BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


4


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N


Figure I, Location of Holmes,Washingtonand Jackson Counties


___._ ~ I~_ _





REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86


PREVIOUS GEOLOGIC INVESTIGATIONS
The first geologic study dealing specifically with this area was,
"The Geology of Holmes and Washington Counties," by Robert 0.
Vernon (1942). Vernon produced eight geologic cross sections based
mainly on surface exposures. Well data (sample cuttings) were used
where available to supplement the field observations. Extensive use
was made of the faunal makeup of the Ocala, Marianna, Suwannee,
and Tampa limestones as well as the Alum Bluff, Choctawhatchee,
and Post Miocene stratigraphy. A surface geologic map was prepared
for both counties and was very helpful to the present authors in locat-
ing surface exposures and rock outcrops.
Wayne E. Moore published in 1955, "The Geology of Jackson
County." Although he did not develop cross sections depicting the
geologic correlations, he did prepare structure contour maps on the
top of the Middle Eocene, the Upper Eocene (Ocala Group), the
Oligocene, and the "Tampa Formation." Moore also made extensive
use of the fauna present within the limestone formations. A surface
geologic map was also produced as a result of his research.
These two publications have been and will continue to be the
foundations for stratigraphic research of the Tertiary in this area.
Both deal extensively with the faunal and lithologic makeup of
limestones present in this area of the Florida Panhandle. In addition
to giving historic reviews of work done in the area, attention was also
given to geographic correlations and physiographic expressions of
the various units.
In 1961, William Reves reported on the limestone resources of
the three-county area. His study concentrated on the economic geol-
ogy of the area. It was concluded that both clays and limestones
could be utilized and combined in some manufacturing process. This
being available it was hoped the local economy would benefit from
the newly discovered resources.
Finally, J. William Yon, Jr. and C. W. Hendry, Jr. (1969) pub-
lished, as Bulletin No. 50 of the Florida Bureau of Geology, "The
Mineral Resources of Holmes, Walton and Washington counties."
Their locations of new sources of minerals and associated test results
proved the potential value of limestone, sand and clay for that area.
The present study is a result of extensive well sample coverage
now available throughout the three-county area. In the last two to
three decades since the original work was done many more cuttings
(samples) have been received by the Florida Bureau of Geology from
private well drillers as well as from the Bureau's own coring prog-
ram. This increased data base has allowed the authors to correlate
and map these Tertiary limestones in the subsurface with greater cer-





BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


tainty than ever before.
This work has resulted in the production of geologic cross sec-
tions throughout the three-county area, structure contours on top of
the Ocala Group, and Marianna and Tampa limestones, and an
isopach of the plastic sequence overlying the limestones.
It is anticipated that this kind of geologic information along with
the' previous published research will aid planners, miners, civil and
sanitary engineers, and water-well drillers in their specific needs.

METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
At the outset of the present investigation a reconnaissance of sur-
tact outcrops was made. Because of the nature of the Tertiary limes-
tones in Florida, little or no bedding is recordable from surface expo-
sures. Accordingly, most of the present study is based on subsurface
information consisting of well samples, geophysical logs, drillers' logs
and data from previous publications of the Florida Bureau of Geology.
In excess of 300 wells were available in the Bureau's well files for the
three-county area, with most having good samples available for obser-
vation. and 23 having electric or gamma logs.

DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA
Limestones of' the Floridan Aquifer underlie the entire three-
county area. Zero (limestone at the surface) to over two hundred feet
of sand clayey sands and gravels cover the limestone and constitute
a localized water-table aquifer (Schmidt, 1978). The undulating to-
pography, which has numerous karst features, is largely the result of
subsidence of the land surface due to differential solution by water of
the underlying limestone and subsequent collapse of the surficial
deposits. The area is a recharge region for the Floridan Aquifer.
Water falling on the three-county area as precipitation enters the
lirmestones which are relatively close to the surface, then migrates
south and southwestward following the dip of the limestone forma-
tions and the hydrologic pressure gradient. There are such features
as sink holes, clear-water springs, and caves present, as are often
found in areas dominated by a karst type development.
The lithology of the limestone varies laterally and with depth;
however, it generally can be described as soft, white, granular,
permeable, fossiliferous and very pure calcium carbonate limestone.
Often localized variations occur within the limestone formations,
they include dolomitic limestone, calcareous clays, sandy limes-
tones, and thin chert beds.
The overlying surficial deposits have been named and dated





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Fiig.2- Thickness of Sands and ClIcyey Sands onrllying Liimesltfne


-. "


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BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


using the regional elevations (correlation of terraces and ancient
shorelines, Cooke 1945, Vernon, 1942). These terraces consists of
clayey sands, sands, gravels, limonite and clays that change laterally
and vertically within short distances. Quite often the underlying
limestones have contributed residual chert and limestone boulders to
the clayey sands and they have now become incorporated in the ter-
race deposits (Moore, 1955).
In Holmes and Washington counties, the overlying plastics are
considerably thicker than in Jackson County (fig. 2). This appears to
be a result of the land elevation being higher as opposed to the
limestone being deeper. Holmes County is dominated by the West-
ern Highlands Physiographic Province. Washington County has the
New Hope Ridge situated across the central part of the county, with
a number of sand hills, including Orange Hill, Falling Water Hill,
Rock Hill, High Hill, and Oak Hill in its northeast corner. These fea-
tures are the reason Holmes and Washington counties have a thick
sequence of sands overlying the limestones.

TERTIARY STRUCTURE
Holmes, Washington and Jackson counties are located on the
southern flank of a broad flexure in the tri-state area known as the
Chattahoochee Anticline. The-structure was first mapped by Veatch
and Stephenson (1911) on exposures of Cretaceous to Eocene rocks
along the Chattahoochee River in southwest Georgia. This feature in
northwest Florida is recognized in an upwarped area around Jackson
County, with dips extending away from it towards the southeast, south,
and southwest (Applin and Applin, 1944).
This trend can be readily observed by looking at the Structure
Contour Map prepared on the top of the Ocala Group (fig. 5). The
structural high in northwest Florida is centered around northern
Jackson and Holmes counties where the top of the Ocala reaches
over 100 feet above sea level. From this high area along the
Alabama-Florida State Lines the Ocala surface drops off in elevation
to the southeast, south and southwest, until at the southern boundary
of Washington County the elevation is more than 325 feet below sea
level. The younger units such as the Oligocene Series and the
Miocene Series also show this trend (figs. 3 and 4). These shallower
formations have been removed from the northern area which is the
topographically higher section, by erosion, both mechanical and
chemical. They therefore pinch-out from down-dip to up-dip as the
Ocala approaches its highest elevation. This can best be displayed by
geologic cross-sections which cut across the flank of the anticline (figs.
7 and 14).






R Iw + RI + RGle Re5 + R14 + R13 + R 1 + RIl + RI + Rn + Re + R7 + RBs


R lat R17 + RIB + RI + 14 + 1 a + R2 + I. R_ + RI o R + R e+ + R-? R WRAw
Fig 3-TOP OF TAMPA LIMESTONE










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Fig.5-TOP OF OCALA GROUP


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BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


The units which pinch-out commonly dip at a constant rate to-
wards the present-day Gulf of Mexico. These units, however, gradu-
ally change lithologic and paleontologic characteristics as they ap-
proach the Gulf. The reason for this is that this area represented a
deeper, farther off-shore location than the shallow, near-shore section
to the north. In addition post-depositional changes due to diagenesis
and ground-water migration have also modified the lithology.
The structural upwarping which caused the Chattahoochee Arch
has been dated by Stephenson (1928) as late Tertiary. This would ac-
count for the numerous gradational changes in the Neogene down
dip to the south from the three-county area. This area was a shallow
off-shore environment which was easily altered by sediment influx,
bottom slope, and marine currents. It is because of this wide range of
depositional environments that there exists a number of related, but
different shallow water deposits in the Florida Panhandle gulfward
of the Chattahoochee Arch.
Because of this Tertiary movement there has been postulated a
thult in the Jackson County area near the town of Cypress (Moore,
1955). The evidence used for this was a faunal discontinuity which
Moore felt existed in three wells. Without relying on the ftunal as-
se mblage this area has been re-contoured to exclude a fault (figs. 4
and 5). This is not to say a fault cannot exist in fhe area; indeed it is
an area to investigate. However, with the available data and the
known high angle of dip the limestone formations exhibit, the au-
thors see no reason to include a tfult in the present interpretation.

TERTIARY STRATIGRAPHY
Detailed stratigraphy of Holmes and Washington Counties has
been done by Vernon (1942). Jackson County has been worked by
Moore (1955). The basic stratigraphy of the two works is the same
and their formational descriptions can be compiled to avoid constant
comparison (Hendry and Yon, 1955, Reves, 1961).
The Ocala Group is the oldest rock unit that crops out in the
three-county area; it is late Eocene (Puri and Vernon, 1964). Because
of its age and stratigraphic position, this limestone is always found
under or deeper than all other formations present at the surface. The
regional structure dictates where this unit will be found at the sur-
face (fig. 5), that is, along the northern half of Jackson County. The
lithology of the Ocala typically is composed of a light yellow to
cream to white colored, granular, permeable, and highly fossiliferous
pure limestone. Localized weathered surfaces frequently have been
hardened by recrystallization or silicification. The lower part of the
Ocala which is not exposed in Jackson County but is observed in





REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86


well cuttings, is slightly glauconitic and sandy, and it tends to be
greenish-gray in color. The Ocala has a prolific fossil fauna which in-
cludes many species of foraminifera, echinoids, mollusks, and bryo-
zoans.
The next younger series, the Oligocene, consists of two forma-
tions, the Marianna Limestone and the Suwannee Limestone. The
Marianna lies directly on top of the Ocala Group and is considered early
Oligocene (Vernon, 1942). It crops out along a narrow band through
central Jackson County, immediately south of the Ocala exposures and
north of the Suwannee outcrops, and is light gray to cream to white. It is
generally massive and is much less permeable than the Ocala. The
limestone has an abundant fauna of large foraminifera, and locally
pecten and bryozoans are common. On fresh exposures the rock is soft,
however, it tends to case-harden as it weathers.

The Suwannee Limestone overlies the Marianna and consists of
tan to buff colored limestones, dolomitic limestones, and dolomite,
which are porous and fossiliferous. Suwannee Limestone can be
found in the area, cropping out in a narrow band which parallels the
Marianna outcrop belt to the north. The limestone contains many
silicified masses which remain in the residual clays and sandy clays.
Overlying the Oligocene Series is the Miocene Series in
Holmes, Washington and Jackson counties. The Miocene in the
Florida Panhandle consists of three stages (Puri, 1953); the Tampa
Stage, the oldest; the Alum Bluff; and the Choctawhatchee Stage, the
youngest. The Tampa underlies the Alum Bluff and it, in turn, is un-
derlain by dte Suwannee. The Tampa outcrop pattern is similar to
that of the Suwannee and the Marianna and is found immediately
south of the Suwannee exposures. All three form a more or less con-
centric outcrop band around the southern end of the Chattahoochee
Arch.
The Tampa lithology is highly variable within the three-county
region. In Jackson County the formation is characterized by fine
quartz sand within an argillaceous limestone. Commonly weathered,
the lithology often best may be described as gray and white sandy
clays. Farther west in Holmes and Washington counties, the material
is more like a true limestone, although it is still slightly silty and
sandy, The limestone is sparsely fossiliferous and at many outcrops
no fossil remains can be found. Although the Tampa has long been
considered lower Miocene it originally was correlated with the
upper Oligocene by W. H. Dall (in Cooke and Mossom, 1928). More
recently C. W. Poag (1972) reassigned a Late Oligocene age to the
Chattahoochee, (Tampa of the Panhandle) based on faunal as-





12 BUREAU OF GEOLOGY

semblages. This apparently has been accepted by other workers in
the field.
The Alum Bluff and Choctawhatchee are very similar in lithol-
ogy and upon weathering are almost impossible to separate. They
tend to include sandy clays and clayey sands with abundant mollusk
shells being preserved. A fresh exposure is usually gray to drab
green, but after considerable weathering they both become mottled
tan and orange and most fossil remains are leached out. The orange
stain often is from the iron oxide present in the overlying sands.
In addition to these units being exposed throughout the three-
county area, there is a thin veneer of sands which exists as a blanket
deposit covering all lithologies. These sands can be found at various
elevations, traceable to ancient sea level fluctuations. In addition,
most of the river and stream valleys also have an accumulation of this
clean sand due to more recent erosion and reworking.























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14 BUREAU OF GEOLOGY




























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REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86 15


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16 BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


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REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86 17












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18 BUREAU OF GEOLOGY












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20 BUREAU OF GEOLOGY















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CROSS SECTION LOCATION 3 Op
Fig. 14-Cross Section Thru Jockson County to










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Fig.15- Physiographic Map of the Study Area.






REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86


PHYSIOGRAPHY AND ECONOMIC GEOLOGY
The dominant physiographic unit in the three-county area is the
Marianna Lowlands (Puri and Vernon, 1964). This feature extends
westward in Florida from the Chattahoochee River to just west of the
Choctawhatchee River in Holmes County. The lowland has resulted
from erosion and deposition by a number of streams and rivers and to
a lesser extent from lowering of the surface by solutioning of the
limestones. The erosion was probably accelerated by the lowering of
sea level during several maxima of continental glaciation. However,
during recent times the surface has been modified by processes re-
lated to the dissolving of limestone.
Karst features are common with a number of well-developed
sinkholes being present. There are also more gentle, less obvious
depressions that are the result of internal drainage. One spectacular
sink in Washington County has been developed into a state park, the
Falling Waters State Park. At this location the limestone represents a
resistant topographically high area surrounded by the lowlands.
Within the sink a visitor can see in vertical succession, terrace sands
at the top, underlain by Tampa limestone, which in turn is underlain
by Suwannee Limestone.
Springs are also abundant in the region and a number have been
developed for recreational purposes. A Florida State Recreation area
has been created at Ponce de Leon Springs in Holmes County where
a clear water pool exists and an excellent swimming location has re-
sulted.
In Jackson County at Florida Caverns State Park there are many
caves in the Ocala limestone where numerous cave features, such as
stalactites, stalagmites and flow stones can be seen.
It is also within the Marianna Lowlands that limestone mining
occurs. Near Marianna there are numerous old quarries where
Oligocene and Eocene limestones have been mined for many years.
The major use for the rock is building material and road base. South
of Marianna near Rocky Creek, the Suwannee Limestone is mined.
Here it is a well developed dolomite and its use is primarily agricul-
tural.
The major river valleys consist of Recent and terrace alluvium
and Tertiary deposits. The large rivers such as the Choctawhatchee
and Chattahoochee carry a considerable sediment load and are there-
fore of a shallow grade because of sediment being deposited within
their banks. These large rivers originate in Alabama and Georgia
where they accumulate the silt and clay they are transporting. The
local tributaries are often spring-fed and flow for the larger part of
their courses across limestones. These streams, therefore, carry rela-






BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


tively little sediment and fill their valleys much more slowly than the
Choctawhatchee and Chattahoochee rivers.
Along the southern margin of the three-county area is a topog-
raphically high section with elevations generally above 250 feet.
This high area is cut into east and west sections by the Chipola River
Valley. The eastern part is called Grand Ridge and its western coun-
terpart is the New Hope Ridge. These ridges are composed of clayey
sands that are probably Miocene to Pleistocene in age. The limes-
tone is commonly as deep as 100 to 200 feet below the surface in
these locations (figs. 2 and 9).
In northeastern Washington County there are a number of iso-
lated hills that rise above the elevations of the Marianna Lowlands.
These hills apparently are caused by remnant highs in the limestone
surface due to more resistant limestones. This can be seen in Fig. 7
at W-1, where a well has penetrated Tampa limestone at an elevation
of approximately 175 feet.
The Western Highlands terminate in western Holmes County
following from west to east. The elevation and lithologic makeup of
these hills are similar to that of the Ridges to the south, that is, clayey
sands with varying amounts of quartz gravel, limonite and clay.
Much of the sediments in the upper one hundred feet are part of the
Citronelle Formation or younger, reworked Citronelle. These clayey
sands and gravels are commonly mined for road base material and fill
for small building foundations.







REPORT OF INVESTIGATION NO. 86 25

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Cooke, C. W.
1929 (and Mossom, S.) Geology of Florida: Florida Geol. Survey 20th Ann. Rept.

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1958 (and Yon, J. W.) Geology of the area in and around the Jim Woodruff Reser-
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Yon, J. W.
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