Geologic units in Highlands county, Florida

Undifferentiated sediments (Pleistocene/Holocene) at surface, covers 53 % of this area

Undifferentiated Quaternary Sediments - Much of Florida's surface is covered by a varying thickness of undifferentiated sediments consisting of siliciclastics, organics and freshwater carbonates. Where these sediments exceed 20 feet (6.1 meters) thick, they were mapped as discrete units. In an effort to subdivide the undifferentiated sediments, those sediments occurring in flood plains were mapped as alluvial and flood plain deposits (Qal). Sediments showing surficial expression of beach ridges and dunes were mapped separately (Qbd) as were the sediments composing Trail Ridge (Qtr). Terrace sands were not mapped (refer to Healy [1975] for a discussion of the terraces in Florida). The subdivisions of the Undifferentiated Quaternary Sediments (Qu) are not lithostratigraphic units but are utilized in order to facilitate a better understanding of the State's geology. The siliciclastics are light gray, tan, brown to black, unconsolidated to poorly consolidated, clean to clayey, silty, unfossiliferous, variably organic-bearing sands to blue green to olive green, poorly to moderately consolidated, sandy, silty clays. Gravel is occasionally present in the panhandle. Organics occur as plant debris, roots, disseminated organic matrix and beds of peat. Freshwater carbonates, often referred to as marls in the literature, are scattered over much of the State. In southern Florida, freshwater carbonates are nearly ubiquitous in the Everglades. These sediments are buff colored to tan, unconsolidated to poorly consolidated, fossiliferous carbonate muds. Sand, silt and clay may be present in limited quantities. These carbonates often contain organics. The dominant fossils in the freshwater carbonates are mollusks.

Reworked Cypresshead sediments (Pliocene/Pleistocene) at surface, covers 29 % of this area

Undifferentiated reworked Cypresshead Formation- This unit is the result of post depositional reworking of the Cypresshead siliciclastics. The sediments are fine to coarse quartz sands with scattered quartz gravel and varying percentages of clay matrix.

Shelly sediments of Plio-Pleistocene age (Pliocene/Pleistocene) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

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

Cypresshead Formation (Pliocene) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

The Cypresshead Formation named by Huddlestun (1988), is composed of siliciclastics and occurs only in the peninsula and eastern Georgia. It is at or near the surface from northern Nassau County southward to Highlands County forming the peninsular highlands. It appears that the Cypresshead Formation occurs in the subsurface southward from the outcrop region and similar sediments, the Long Key Formation, underlie the Florida Keys. The Cypresshead Formation is a shallow marine, near shore deposit equivalent to the Citronelle Formation deltaic sediments and the Miccosukee Formation prodeltaic sediments. The Cypresshead Formation consists of reddish brown to reddish orange, unconsolidated to poorly consolidated, fine to very coarse grained, clean to clayey sands. Cross bedded sands are common within the formation. Discoid quartzite pebbles and mica are often present. Clay beds are scattered and not areally extensive. In general, the Cypresshead Formation in exposure occurs above 100 feet (30 meters) above mean sea level (msl). Original fossil material is not present in the sediments although poorly preserved molds and casts of mollusks and burrow structures are occasionally present. The presence of these fossil "ghosts" and trace fossils documents marine influence on deposition of the Cypresshead sediments. The permeable sands of the Cypresshead Formation form part of the surficial aquifer system.

Dunes (Pliocene/Pleistocene) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Tertiary-Quaternary Dunes - The dune sediments are fine to medium quartz sand with varying amounts of disseminated organic matter. The sands form dunes at elevations greater than 100 feet (30 meters) msl.

Holocene sediments (Holocene) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

The Holocene sediments in Florida occur near the present coastline at elevations generally less than 5 feet (1.5 meters). The sediments include quartz sands, carbonate sands and muds, and organics.