Citation
The geology of Torreya State Park ( FGS: Leaflet 11 )

Material Information

Title:
The geology of Torreya State Park ( FGS: Leaflet 11 )
Series Title:
( FGS: Leaflet 11 )
Creator:
Campbell, Kenneth M ( Kenneth Mark ), 1949-
Hoenstine, Ronald W
Florida -- Bureau of Geology
Place of Publication:
<Tallahassee Fla.>
Publisher:
Florida Bureau of Geology, Division of Resource Management, Florida Dept. of Natural Resources
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
8 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Geology -- Florida -- Torreya State Park ( lcsh )
Torreya State Park (Fla.) ( lcsh )
City of Apalachicola ( local )
Torreya State Park ( local )
Human geography ( jstor )
Limestones ( jstor )
Floodplains ( jstor )
Geology ( jstor )
Stream erosion ( jstor )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Funding:
Leaflet (Florida. Bureau of Geology) ;
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kenneth Campbell and Ronald W. Hoenstine.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
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:
025882335 ( aleph )
25763543 ( oclc )
ALD2899 ( notis )

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Full Text







Leaflet No. I





On the front cdvr:-

A view of the Gregory-Hoe. from the River.-Note the floodplain
surface ani the tree roots exposed by erosion of the rivei bank. (




Inside-the back cover-.i

Map of Torre4 a State Parkshiowingi pint ieoloic interest.
















Prepared by the'

FLORIDA BUREAU I -% GEOLOGY
DIVISION OF RESOURCE rtA GEMENT
FLOR1DA2)EPARTENTWOFl1 ESOURCES


1982




THE GEOLOGY OF TORREYA STATE PARK

by

Kenneth Campbell and Ronald W. Hoenstine


The pristine forest of Torreya State
Park stands overlooking the Apalachicola
River. Visitors to the park are greatly
impressed by the natural beauty of this
recreational area that is situated in
the physiographic zone known as the
Tallahassee Hills. This zone includes
the higher elevations in the eastern
Florida Panhandle. A great deal of the
park's appeal is attributed to its
rugged topography, with elevations
varying from a low of approximately 50
feet above MSL (mean sea level) at the
river to a maximum of 252 feet above MSL
in the park's interior. The unspoiled
natural setting is enhanced by numerous
streams which traverse the park; many of
which carry water only during heavy
rains or sustained wet periods.


THE PROCESS OF EROSION


The rugged landscape of Torreya
State Park, which is due to the process
of erosion, vividly illustrates the dra-
matic changes that can occur as a result
of the combined effects of such diverse
weathering agents as water, dissolution,
gravity, and wind on Florida's
landscape. Although water has played an
essential role in developing the beauty
of the park, it can also present
problems. The clayey sands, which form
the highlands, retard infiltration of
precipitation and enhance runoff.
During periods of heavy rains, the
numerous dry streams encountered in
hikes through the park may quickly fill







with rain water collected along the
higher ridges and steep slopes. These
streams can become "torrents of water"
rushing downstream, uprooting trees, and
carrying roots and debris along with
vast quantities of soil. This erosion
is an ever-changing dynamic process, the
results of which are visible in the
park.
Runoff is not necessarily confined
to the stream beds. It may flow down
the sides of steep slopes causing
slumping. Slump scours, channels cut in
the steep slopes, can be seen below the
Gregory House. The newly exposed sedi-
ments become susceptible to additional
weathering and erosion. Eroded soil and
rock continue their journey downslope,
ultimately being transported by the
Apalachicola River downstream to the
Gulf of Mexico where the material is
deposited.

THE RIVER


The present location of the
Apalachicola River serves as a boundary
separating two areas with different
near-surface geology. West of the
river, carbonate rocks (limestones and
dolomites) are found near the land sur-
face, while east of the river, carbonate
rocks are overlain by a thick sequence
of sands and clays with some limestone
beds. These sands and clays form the
major portion of the bluffs at Torreya
State Park.




2








RIVER EROSION


The effects of river erosion are
dramatically evident along the bluffs
viewed from the campground, the Gregory
House, and the Apalachicola Bluffs
Trail. This trail, which starts at the
Gregory House, follows along the bluff
and down to the river. The bluffs are a
topographic feature which can be found
on the east side of the Apalachicola
River from Lake Seminole at the north to
the town of Bristol at the south, a
distance of approximately 20 miles.
Rising up to 150 feet in height, the
bluffs have formed from a combination of
geologic conditions and geomorphic pro-
cesses (those which shape landforms)
that have been dominated by the
Apalachicola River. The Apalachicola
River cuts into these highlands,
widening its floodplain by the process
known as lateral planation. In this
process, rock and soil materials are
eroded from the outside and downstream
sides of river bends (meanders) while
material is deposited on the inside and
upstream sides. The result is a slow
widening of the meander belt as well as
a slow downstream migration of the mean-
ders. Part of the floodplain can be
seen starting below the Gregory House
and extending downstream on the park
side of the river. In addition, there
are shallow channels cut in the
floodplain that can be seen along the
Apalachicola Bluffs Trail just to the
west of the Gregory House. These are
floodplain scour routes which may be the
initial stage in the development of a
new river channel, or may be the final
remnant of an old channel.








Geologic conditions influence the
river as the channel migrates and widens
the floodplain. The rocks in this area
dip to the southeast and cause the river
to migrate slowly eastward as it cuts
its channel. The lowlands, swamps, and
river deposits on the west side of the
river are remnants of former high ridge
areas that have been eroded and lowered
by the river over the years.

LIMESTONE EXPOSURES


As a result of these erosional
forces and the subsequent removal of
soil, park visitors can see the
underlying limestone exposed at several
sites in the park. The first exposure
is encountered in the vicinity of the
Confederate gun pits which are located
on the bluff along the nature trail
below the Gregory House (see map). This
limestone, which formed from the hard
shells of animals that died and accumu-
lated on an ancient sea floor, is just
visible at the ground surface. Other
limestone exposures can be seen while
hiking along the river bank below the
Gregory House and near the River Bluff
Primitive Camp. These outcrops, which
are very prominent during extended dry
periods and associated low river stages,
are generally submerged and hidden from
view by the river during years of normal
precipitation.





































A view of the limestone exposed at Rock Bluff near the River Bluff Primitive Camp.







FOSSILS


Torreya State Park offers a unique
setting for an impressive array of
plants and animals, some of which can be
seen in the park's fossil record. This
record, in part, has been preserved in
the limestone which underlies the park.
A cursory examination of this limestone
may show little detail; however, when
viewed under a microscope, this
limestone is found to contain tiny
fossil plants and animals. These relics
of past life have enabled geologists to
date the deposition of the sediments as
having been laid down approximately 15
million years ago during a period of
time known as the Miocene Epoch. In
addition, an analysis of these micro-
fossils enables a reconstruction of the
park's environment during that period of
time millions of years ago. Though it
may be difficult to imagine, the
limestone, which is exposed near the top
of the Bluff, was, in fact, part of an
ancient seafloor. The microfossils
contained within the limestone are
related to those that occur in a present
day marine coastal setting. It is an
indication that the present park area
was covered by a relatively shallow
ocean during this period of Florida's
past. This interpretation is compatible
with other studies which have indicated
that much of Florida was covered by
water during the Miocene Epoch.






UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY


Torreya State Park offers visitors
the opportunity to experience the beauty
and natural wonder of a unique setting.
As you walk along the numerous trails
and paths within the park, we hope your
enjoyment is enhanced by an increased
understanding and awareness of the
geologic forces that have molded and
shaped this magnificent landscape over
the millennia.


''. ^ ....^ *;< )"
M!b u
A&A~


View of Rock Bluff (looking north) near the River Bluff Primitive Camp.





















co
11".,' -". .. "






a*"vt
rt -[ '~~i~ 1''"':. -I'^









Geologists from the Florida Bureau of Geology examine the limestone out-
crop at Apalechicola Bluffs, just upstream from the Gregory House. This
outcrop is covered by the river except during very low water.


























River Flood
Plain


k Tr


FEET


0 BLUFFS


Map of Torreya State Park showing points of geologic interest.




Full Text

PAGE 1

Leaflet No. i On the front cdver: A view of the Gregory-Houe from the River-'Note the floodpiain surface andithe tree roots eiposed by erosion of the rivei bank. Inside-thelbackcoveari Map of Torre4 a State Parkshiowingi pint ieoloic interest. Prepared by the' FLORIDA BUREAU I W!$GEOLOGY DIVISTON OF RESOURC -MwAGEMENT FLORIDADEPARTMENTOFl _ ;iESO CES 1982

PAGE 2

THE GEOLOGY OF TORREYA STATE PARK by Kenneth Campbell and Ronald W. Hoenstine The pristine forest of Torreya State Park stands overlooking the Apalachicola River. Visitors to the park are greatly impressed by the natural beauty of this recreational area that is situated in the physiographic zone known as the Tallahassee Hills. This zone includes the higher elevations in the eastern Florida Panhandle. A great deal of the park's appeal is attributed to its rugged topography, with elevations varying from a low of approximately 50 feet above MSL (mean sea level) at the river to a maximum of 252 feet above MSL in the park's interior. The unspoiled natural setting is enhanced by numerous streams which traverse the park; many of which carry water only during heavy rains or sustained wet periods. THE PROCESS OF EROSION The rugged landscape of Torreya State Park, which is due to the process of erosion, vividly illustrates the dramatic changes that can occur as a result of the combined effects of such diverse weathering agents as water, dissolution, gravity, and wind on Florida's landscape. Although water has played an essential role in developing the beauty of the park, it can also present problems. The clayey sands, which form the highlands, retard infiltration of precipitation and enhance runoff. During periods of heavy rains, the numerous dry streams encountered in hikes through the park may quickly fill

PAGE 3

with rain water collected along the higher ridges and steep slopes. These streams can become "torrents of water" rushing downstream, uprooting trees, and carrying roots and debris along with vast quantities of soil. This erosion is an ever-changing dynamic process, the results of which are visible in the park. Runoff is not necessarily confined to the stream beds. It may flow down the sides of steep slopes causing slumping. Slump scours, channels cut in the steep slopes, can be seen below the Gregory House. The newly exposed sediments become susceptible to additional weathering and erosion. Eroded soil and rock continue their journey downslope, ultimately being transported by the Apalachicola River downstream to the Gulf of Mexico where the material is deposited. THE RIVER The present location of the Apalachicola River serves as a boundary separating two areas with different near-surface geology. West of the river, carbonate rocks (limestones and dolomites) are found near the land surface, while east of the river, carbonate rocks are overlain by a thick sequence of sands and clays with some limestone beds. These sands and clays form the major portion of the bluffs at Torreya State Park. 2 * ..::.

PAGE 4

RIVER EROSION The effects of river erosion are dramatically evident along the bluffs viewed from the campground, the Gregory House, and the Apalachicola Bluffs Trail. This trail, which starts at the Gregory House, follows along the bluff and down to the river. The bluffs are a topographic feature which can be found on the east side of the Apalachicola River from Lake Seminole at the north to the town of Bristol at the south, a distance of approximately 20 miles. Rising up to 150 feet in height, the bluffs have formed from a combination of geologic conditions and geomorphic processes (those which shape landforms) that have been dominated by the Apalachicola River. The Apalachicola River cuts into these highlands, widening its floodplain by the process known as lateral planation. In this process, rock and soil materials are eroded from the outside and downstream sides of river bends (meanders) while material is deposited on the inside and upstream sides. The result is a slow widening of the meander belt as well as a slow downstream migration of the meanders. Part of the floodplain can be seen starting below the Gregory House and extending downstream on the park side of the river. In addition, there are shallow channels cut in the floodplain that can be seen along the Apalachicola Bluffs Trail just to the west of the Gregory House. These are floodplain scour routes which may be the initial stage in the development of a new river channel, or may be the final remnant of an old channel. 3

PAGE 5

Geologic conditions influence the river as the channel migrates and widens the floodplain. The rocks in this area dip to the southeast and cause the river to migrate slowly eastward as it cuts its channel. The lowlands, swamps, and river deposits on the west side of the river are remnants of former high ridge areas that have been eroded and lowered by the river over the years. LIMESTONE EXPOSURES As a result of these erosional forces and the subsequent removal of soil, park visitors can see the underlying limestone exposed at several sites in the park. The first exposure is encountered in the vicinity of the Confederate gun pits which are located on the bluff along the nature trail below the Gregory House (see map). This limestone, which formed from the hard shells of animals that died and accumulated on an ancient sea floor, is just visible at the ground surface. Other limestone exposures can be seen while hiking along the river bank below the Gregory House and near the River Bluff Primitive Camp. These outcrops, which are very prominent during extended dry periods and associated low river stages, are generally submerged and hidden from view by the river during years of normal precipitation. 4

PAGE 6

A view of the limestone exposed at Rock Bluff near the River Bluff Primitive Camp.

PAGE 7

FOSSILS Torreya State Park offers a unique setting for an impressive array of plants and animals, some of which can be seen in the park's fossil record. This record, in part, has been preserved in the limestone which underlies the park. A cursory examination of this limestone may show little detail; however, when viewed under a microscope, this limestone is found to contain tiny fossil plants and animals. These relics of past life have enabled geologists to date the deposition of the sediments as having been laid down approximately 15 million years ago during a period of time known as the Miocene Epoch. In addition, an analysis of these microfossils enables a reconstruction of the park's environment during that period of time millions of years ago. Though it may be difficult to imagine, the limestone, which is exposed near the top of the Bluff, was, in fact, part of an ancient seafloor. The microfossils contained within the limestone are related to those that occur in a present day marine coastal setting. It is an indication that the present park area was covered by a relatively shallow ocean during this period of Florida's past. This interpretation is compatible with other studies which have indicated that much of Florida was covered by water during the Miocene Epoch. 6

PAGE 8

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY Torreya State Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty and natural wonder of a unique setting. As you walk along the numerous trails and paths within the park, we hope your enjoyment is enhanced by an increased understanding and awareness of the geologic forces that have molded and shaped this magnificent landscape over the millennia. View of Rock Bluff (looking north) near the River Bluff Primitive Camp. 7

PAGE 9

~ A, .4r.' ~~4~~0)·4 :Ia Geologists from the Florida Bureau of Geology examine the limestone outcrop at Apalachicola Bluffs, just upstream from the Gregory House. This nutcrop It covered by the river except dutring vary low water. ', , , ., ,,: ,"; '. "" " * " ', :.' ." , . .~i a ·, ra@-r,·, ....,,, ,.,. J ,; ,, • ,. , o LL', Il;iL~~ dr\Y*r I "'" " J" " ."" '1' = .,. "' ".. ' L' Geoogst fro the Floid Burea of eoogyexie te imstoe ut cro at Aplchc. Blfs just'" upstrea fro th; Grgr os.Ti r~~utctoir~~~ is4~ 1 ~ ~ coee by th rie xcp trn vr owwtr

PAGE 10

TORREYA STATE PARK *Rockj RI\ A '/ Creek'k a Primitive 1 Scour A Camp Campground RoutesR cyHouse River Flood Picnic i Campground 0 FEET 2000 SMETERS 500 Buff/S River Bluff * Primitive Camp I !0 FEET 2000 0 METERS 500 BLUFFS L __ Map of Torreya State Park showing points of geologic interest.

PAGE 11

The ~~co TORREOR~o ~~~ QUINCY , r~iB. FA R "K GREENSBORO Qrlldd 000 he~ 100 IV 0 5, m i O ~~8KM. n' 'a~c 00 KM. OBR ISTOL ·a