Porosity measurements by borehole gravity meter in subsurface Cenozoic carbonates of south Florida reveal an extremely porous mass of limestone and dolomite which is transitional in total pore volume between typical porosity values for modern carbonate sediments and ancient carbonate rocks. A persistent decrease of porosity with depth, similar to that of chalks of the Gulf Coast, occurs in these rocks. We make no attempt to differentiate depositional or diagenetic facies which produce scatter in the porosity-depth relationship; the dominant data trends thus are functions of carbonate rocks in general rather than of particular carbonate facies. Carbonate strata with less than 20% porosity are absent from the rocks studied here.
Aquifers and aquicludes cannot be distinguished on the basis of porosity. Although aquifers are characterized by great permeability and well-developed vuggy and even cavernous porosity in some intervals, they are not exceptionally porous when compared to other Tertiary carbonate rocks in south Florida. Permeability in these strata is governed more by the spacial distribution of pore space and matrix than by the total volume of porosity present.
Dolomite is as porous as, or slightly less porous than, limestones in these rocks. This observation places limits on any model proposed for dolomitization and suggests that dolomitization does not take place by a simple ion-for-ion replacement of magnesium for calcium. Dolomitization may be selective for less porous limestone, or it may involve the incorporation of significant amounts of carbonate as well as magnesium into the rock.
The great volume of pore space in these rocks serves to highlight the inefficiency of early diagenesis in reducing carbonate porosity and to emphasize the importance of later porosity reduction which occurs during the burial or late near-surface history of limestones and dolomites.