Tertiary-Quaternary Fossiliferous Sediments of Southern Florida - Molluskbearing sediments of southern Florida contain some of the most abundant and diverse fossil faunas in the world. The origin of these accumulations of fossil mollusks is imprecisely known (Allmon, 1992). The shell beds have attracted much attention due to the abundance and preservation of the fossils but the biostratigraphy and lithostratigraphy of the units has not been well defined (Scott, 1992). Scott and Wingard (1995) discussed the problems associated with biostratigraphy and lithostratigraphy of the Plio-Pleistocene in southern Florida. These "formations" are biostratigraphic units. The "formations" previously recognized within the latest Tertiary-Quaternary section of southern Florida include the latest Pliocene - early Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation, the early Pleistocene Bermont formation (informal) and the late Pleistocene Fort Thompson Formation. This section consists of fossiliferous sands and carbonates. The identification of these units is problematic unless the significant molluscan species are recognized. Often exposures are not extensive enough to facilitate the collection of representative faunal samples to properly discern the biostratigraphic identification of the formation. In an attempt to alleviate the inherent problems in the biostratigraphic recognition of lithostratigraphic units, Scott (1992) suggested grouping the latest Pliocene through late Pleistocene Caloosahatchee, Bermont and Fort Thompson Formations in to a single lithostratigraphic entity, the Okeechobee formation (informal). In mapping the shelly sands and carbonates, a generalized grouping as Tertiary-Quaternary shell units (TQsu) was utilized. This is equivalent to the informal Okeechobee formation. The distribution of the Caloosahatchee and Fort Thompson Formation are shown on previous geologic maps by Cooke (1945), Vernon and Puri (1964) and Brooks (1982). The Nashua Formation occurs within the Pliocene - Pleistocene in northern Florida. However, it crops out or is near the surface is an area too small to be shown on a map of this scale. Lithologically these sediments are complex, varying from unconsolidated, variably calcareous and fossiliferous quartz sands to well indurated, sandy, fossiliferous limestones (both marine and freshwater). Clayey sands and sandy clays are present. These sediments form part of the surficial aquifer system
The Miami Limestone (formerly the Miami Oolite), named by Sanford (1909), occurs at or near the surface in southeastern peninsular Florida from Palm Beach County to Dade and Monroe Counties. It forms the Atlantic Coastal Ridge and extends beneath the Everglades where it is commonly covered by thin organic and freshwater sediments. The Miami Limestone occurs on the mainland and in the southern Florida Keys from Big Pine Key to the Marquesas Keys. From Big Pine Key to the mainland, the Miami Limestone is replaced by the Key Largo Limestone. To the north, in Palm Beach County, the Miami Limestone grades laterally northward into the Anastasia Formation. The Miami Limestone consists of two facies, an oolitic facies and a bryozoan facies (Hoffmeister et al. ). The oolitic facies consists of white to orangish gray, poorly to moderately indurated, sandy, oolitic limestone (grainstone) with scattered concentrations of fossils. The bryozoan facies consists of white to orangish gray, poorly to well indurated, sandy, fossiliferous limestone (grainstone and packstone). Beds of quartz sand are also present as unindurated sediments and indurated limey sandstones. Fossils present include mollusks, bryozoans, and corals. Molds and casts of fossils are common. The highly porous and permeable Miami Limestone forms much of the Biscayne Aquifer of the surficial aquifer system.
The Atlantic Coastal Ridge is underlain by the Anastasia Formation from St. Johns County southward to Palm Beach County. Excellent exposures occur in Flagler County in Washington Oaks State Park, in Martin County at the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island and at Blowing Rocks in Palm Beach County. An impressive exposure of Anastasia Formation sediments occurs along Country Club Road in Palm Beach County (Lovejoy, 1992). The Anastasia Formation generally is recognized near the coast but extends inland as much as 20 miles (32 kilometers) in St. Lucie and Martin Counties. The Anastasia Formation, named by Sellards (1912),is composed of interbedded sands and coquinoid limestones. The most recognized facies of the Anastasia sediments is an orangish brown, unindurated to moderately indurated, coquina of whole and fragmented mollusk shells in a matrix of sand often cemented by sparry calcite. Sands occur as light gray to tan and orangish brown, unconsolidated to moderately indurated, unfossiliferous to very fossiliferous beds. The Anastasia Formation forms part of the surficial aquifer system.