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Revised hydrogeologic framework of the Floridan aquifer system in Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina

April 8, 2015

The hydrogeologic framework for the Floridan aquifer system has been revised throughout its extent in Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. The updated framework generally conforms to the original framework established by the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1980s, except for adjustments made to the internal boundaries of the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers and the individual higher and contrasting lower permeability zones within these aquifers. The system behaves as one aquifer over much of its extent; although subdivided vertically into two aquifer units, the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers. In the previous framework, discontinuous numbered middle confining units (MCUI–VII) were used to subdivide the system. In areas where less-permeable rocks do not occur within the middle part of the system, the system was previously considered one aquifer and named the Upper Floridan aquifer. In intervening years, more detailed data have been collected in local areas, resulting in some of the same lithostratigraphic units in the Floridan aquifer system being assigned to the Upper or Lower Floridan aquifer in different parts of the State of Florida. Additionally, some of the numbered middle confining units are found to have hydraulic properties within the same order of magnitude as the aquifers. A new term “composite unit” is introduced for lithostratigraphic units that cannot be defined as either a confining or aquifer unit over their entire extent. This naming convention is a departure from the previous framework, in that stratigraphy is used to consistently subdivide the aquifer system into upper and lower aquifers across the State of Florida. This lithostratigraphic mapping approach does not change the concept of flow within the system. The revised boundaries of the Floridan aquifer system were mapped by considering results from local studies and regional correlations of lithostratigraphic and hydrogeologic units or zones. Additional zones within the aquifers have been incorporated into the framework to allow finer delineation of permeability variations within the aquifer system. These additional zones can be used to progressively divide the system for assessing groundwater and surface-water interaction, saltwater intrusion, and offshore movement of groundwater at greater detail if necessary. The lateral extent of the updip boundary of the Floridan aquifer system is modified from previous work based on newer data and inclusion of parts of the updip clastic facies. The carbonate and clastic facies form a gradational sequence, generally characterized by limestone of successively younger units that extend progressively farther updip. Because of the gradational nature of the carbonate-clastic sequence, some of the updip clastic aquifers have been included in the Floridan aquifer system, the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, or both. Thus, the revised updip limit includes some of these clastic facies. Additionally, the updip limit of the most productive part of the Floridan aquifer system was revised and indicates the approximate updip limit of the carbonate facies. The extent and altitude of the freshwater-saltwater interface in the aquifer system has been mapped to define the freshwater part of the flow system.

Publication Year 2015
Title Revised hydrogeologic framework of the Floridan aquifer system in Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina
DOI 10.3133/pp1807
Authors Lester J. Williams, Eve L. Kuniansky
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1807
Index ID pp1807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center