Citation
Regional structure and stratigraphy of the limestone outcrop belt in the Florida panhandle ( FGS: Report of investigation 86

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 )
Creator:
Schmidt, Walter, 1950-
Coe, Curtis ( joint author )
Place of Publication:
Tallahassee ;
Publisher:
Bureau of Geology
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 25 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Limestone -- Florida ( lcsh )
Jackson County ( local )
City of Ocala ( local )
Washington County ( local )
City of Marianna ( local )
City of Tampa ( local )
Town of Suwannee ( local )
Genre:
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Bibliography: p. 25.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Walter Schmidt and Curtis Coe.

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:
000089981 ( aleph )
05760962 ( oclc )
AAK5369 ( notis )

Full Text









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. El









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
Commntissioner 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, Department of Natural Resources, is publishing as its Report of Investigations 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
Introd u ction .................................................................. 1
Previous G eologic Investigations ............................................... 3
M ethods of Investigation ...................................................... 4
D escription of the A rea ........................................................ 4
T ertiary Structure ............................................................. 6
T ertiary Stratigraphy .......................................................... 10
Physiography and Economic Geology .......................................... 23
Selected References ........................................................... 25





ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page I Location of Study Area ...................................................2
2 I-sopach 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) DD' .......................... 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) CC' .......... 20 14 Geologic Cross Section (Jackson County) H-H' . .I................... 21
15 Physiographic Features ................... ................................ 22





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors wish to thank the geologic staff of the Florida Bureau of Geology who offered many suggestions during the preparation 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 northwest 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 Choctawhatchee, 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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Fi'lure I, Location of Holmes,Washington and Jackson Counties





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 surfhce 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 surfice geologic map was prepared fbr both counties and was very helpful to the present authors in locating 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 fatiuna 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 geology 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) published, 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 program. 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 sections throughout the three-county area, structure contours on top of the Ocala Group. and Marianna and Tampa limestones, and an isopach of the elastic sequence overlying the limestones.
It is anticipated that this kind of geologic information along with tht' previous published research will aid planners, miners, civil and sanitary engineers, and water-well drillers in their specific needs.

METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
At the otutset of the present investigation a reconnaissance of surtact' outcrops was made. Because of the nature of the Tertiary limestoines ini Florida. little or no bedding is recordable from surface exposures. 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 observ.ation. and 22 having electric or gmma logs.

DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA
Limestones of' the Floridan Aquifer underlie the entire threecottty area. Zero (limestone at the surtice) 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 topography, 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 tfling on the three-county area as precipitation enters the litestotes which are relatively close to the surface, then migrates sotuth and southwestward following the dip of the limestone formations and the hydrologic pressure gradient. There are such features as sink holes, clear-water springs, and eaves 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, pemieable, fossiliferous and very pure calcium carbonate limestone. Often localized variations occur within the limestone formations, they include dolomitic limestones, calcareous clays, sandy limestones, and thin chert beds.
The overlying surficial deposits have been named and dated








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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 terrace deposits (Moore, 1955).
In Holmes and Washington counties, the overlying clastics 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 Western 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 features 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).






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BUREAU OF GEOLOGY


The units which pinch-out commonly dip at a constant rate towards the present-day Gulf of Mexico. These units, however, gradually change lithologic and paleontologic characteristics as they approach the Culf. 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 Tertiaiy. This would account 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 environncnt 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 f the Chattahoochee Arch.
Because of this Tertiary movenent there has been postulated a tult in the Jackson County area near the town of Cypress (Moore, 1955). The evidence used for this was a fIunal discontinuity which Moore filt existed in three wells. Without relying on the Ihunal asserlblage this area has been re-contoured to exclude a fiult (figs. 4 and 5). This is not to say a fhult cannot exist in fle area: indeed it is an area to investigate. However, with the available data and the known high angle of dip the limestone fornations exhibit, the authors see no reason to include a fault 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 You, 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 surface (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 includes many species of foraminifera, echinoids, mollusks, and bryozoans.
The next younger series, the Oligocene, consists of two formations, 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 (Purl, 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 underlain by de 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 concentric 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 lithology 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 threecounty 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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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 related 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 restilted.
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 agricultural.
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 therefore 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 topographically 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 counterpart is the New Hope Ridge. These ridges are composed of clayey sands that are probably Miocene to Pleistocene in age. The limestone 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 isolated 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

REFERENCES
Applin, P. L.
1944 (and Applin, Ester R.) Regional subsurface stratigraphy and structure of
Florida and southern Georgia: Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Bid!., v. 28,
no. 12, p. 1673-1753.
Cooke, C. W.
1929 (and Mossoin, S.) Geology of Florida: Florida Geol. Survey 20th Ann. Rept.

1945 Geology of Florida: Florida Geol. Survey Bull. 29. Hendry, C. W.
1958 (and Yon, J. W.) Geology of the area in and around the Jim Woodruff Reservoir: Florida Geol. Survey Rept. of Invest. 16, part 1. Moore, W. E.
1955 Geology ofJackson County, Florida: Florida Geol. Survey Bull. 37. Poag, C. W.
1972 Planktonicforam inifers of the Chickasawhay Formation, United States Gulf
Coast: Micropaleontology, v. 18, n. 3. Puri, H. S.
1964 (and Vernon, H. 0.) Summary of the geology ofFlorida and a gu idebook to the
classic exposures: Florida Geol. Survey Special Pub. 5, rev.

1953 Contribution to the study of the Miocene of the Florida Panhandle: Florida
Geol. Survey Bull. 36.
Reves, W. D.
1961 The limestone resources of Washington, Holmes, and Jackson Counties,
Florida: Florida Geol. Survey Bull. 42. Schmidt, W.
1978 Environmental geology series, Tallahassee Sheet: Map Series Florida Bureau
of Geology (in preparation). \Veatch, 0.
1911 (and Stephenson, L. W.) Preliminary report on the geology of" the coastal
plain of Georgia: Georgia Geol. Survey Bull. 26, p. 62-64. Vernon, R. 0.
1942 Geology of Holmes and Washington Counties, Florida: Florida Geol. Survey
Bull. 21.
Yon, J. W.
1969 (and Hendry, C. W.) Mineral resources study of Holmes, Walton and
Washington Counties: Florida Geol. Survey Bull. 50.











































































4