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 Tamiami Formation (Mansfield, 1939) is a poorly defined lithostratigraphic unit containing a wide range of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic lithologies and associated faunas (Missimer, 1992). It occurs at or near the land surface in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, Collier and Monroe Counties in the southern peninsula. A number of named and unnamed members are recognized within the Tamiami Formation. These include: the Buckingham Limestone Member; an unnamed tan clay and sand; an oyster (Hyotissa) facies, a sand facies, the Ochopee Limestone Member, the Bonita Springs Marl Member; an unnamed limestone facies; the Golden Gate Reef Member; and the Pinecrest Sand Member (Missimer, 1992). The individual members of the Tamiami Formation were not separately mapped on the geological map. Lithologies of the Tamiami Formation in the mapped area include: 1) light gray to tan, unconsolidated, fine to coarse grained, fossiliferous sand; 2) light gray to green, poorly consolidated, fossiliferous sandy clay to clayey sand; 3) light gray, poorly consolidated, very fine to medium grained, calcareous, fossiliferous sand; 4) white to light gray, poorly consolidated, sandy, fossiliferous limestone; and 5) white to light gray, moderately to well indurated, sandy, fossiliferous limestone. Phosphate is present in virtually all lithologies as limited quantities of sand- to gravel-sized grains. Fossils present in the Tamiami occur as molds, casts and original material. The fossils present include barnacles, mollusks, corals, echinoids, foraminifers and calcareous nannoplankton. The Tamiami Formation has highly permeable to impermeable lithologies that form a complex aquifer. Locally, it is part of the surficial aquifer system. In other areas, it forms a part of the intermediate confining unit/aquifer system.
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.