A generalized genetic framework for the development of sinkholes and Karst in Florida, U.S.A.

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Abstract

Karst topography in Florida is developed on the Tertiary limestones of the Floridan aquifer Post-depositional diagenesis and solution have made these limestones highly permeable, T=ca. 50,000 m2/d. Zones of megaporosity have formed at unconformities, and dissolution has enlarged joints and fractures Erosion of the overlying clastic Miocene Hawthorn group strata on one flank of a structural arch has exposed the limestone The elevated edge of the Hawthorn cover forms the Cody scarp Ubiquitous solution pipes have previously formed at joint intersections and are now filled Downwashing of the fill deeper into solution cavities in the limestone and subsidence of the overlying unconsolidated sediments causes surface collapse a subsidence doline or sinkhole This process may penetrate up to 60 m of the semi-consolidated Hawthorn cover, as occurred when the Winter Park sinkhole developed Dense clusters of solution pipes may have formed cenotes which are now found on the exposed limestone terrain

Groundwater moves laterally as diffuse flow except where input or outflow is concentrated. At sinking streams, vertical shafts, and springs, karst caves have formed, but only the major sinking streams form through-flowing conduit systems Shaft recharge dissipates diffusely. Spring discharge is concentrated from diffuse flow In both cases, conduits taper and merge into a zone of megaporosity