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Controls on Karst Landforms in Florida

  • Sam Upchurch
  • Thomas M. Scott
  • Michael C. Alfieri
  • Beth Fratesi
  • Thomas L. Dobecki
Chapter
Part of the Cave and Karst Systems of the World book series (CAKASYWO)

Abstract

Florida’s eogenetic karst development is influenced by groundwater flow, sea level and water table position, sediment mineralogy and fabric, porosity, chemical reactions and geochemical saturation state of the water, residence time, and sediment surface area.

Primary porosity such as intergranular porosity, burrows and borings, intraparticle porosity, and shelter porosity can initially affect the pathways of water flow. Secondary porosity includes potentially extensive, interconnected, moldic porosity, and karstic secondary porosity includes caves and other karst conduits. Diagenetic processes, such as cementation of limestones and dolomitization, may destroy primary and secondary porosity.

Fractures or existing karst conduits provide fast flow routes along which karstification occurs. Photolineament analysis can, with ground truthing, confirm the existence of vertical fractures and faults in basement or overlying rocks. In Florida, photolineament sets occur in two main alignments that are consistent with earth tides.

Bedding planes are often poorly represented but can be dissolutionally enlarged. Epikarst consists of irregular, weathered surfaces exhibiting enhanced porosity and permeability, with cutters, pinnacles, and limestone fragments. Epikarst at unconformities may not relate to sinkhole development.

Reaction rates of groundwater with the carbonate rock are typically slow, and sudden collapse events are usually due to failure of cover materials rather than of the roofs of voids in limestone.

Florida’s epigenetic caves form near the water table when the phreatic surface is stable. In most systems, vadose caves form concurrently with and up gradient from phreatic caves. Many caves reveal evidence of water-table fluctuations driven by climate and sea-level changes.

Some Florida caves have been attributed to mixing-zone dissolution, including caves with large rooms at depth. Evidence is relatively weak for sulfate dissolution-related hypogenetic karst. The dependence of epigenic and freshwater/saltwater mixing zones on sea level creates complex layering of caves with different positions and ages.

Keywords

Porosity Permeability Dissolution kinetics Photolineaments Fractures Epigenetic karst Hypogenetic karst Rates of dissolution 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Upchurch
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Scott
    • 2
  • Michael C. Alfieri
    • 3
  • Beth Fratesi
    • 4
  • Thomas L. Dobecki
    • 5
  1. 1.SDII Global CorporationLand O’ LakesUSA
  2. 2.SDII Global CorporationHavanaUSA
  3. 3.Water Resource Associates, LLCTampaUSA
  4. 4.Southwest Research InstituteSan AntonioUSA
  5. 5.Dobecki Geosciences, LLCMishawakaUSA

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