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Application of carbonate cyclostratigraphy and borehole geophysics to delineate porosity and preferential flow in the karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer, SE Florida

By
Kevin J. Cunningham
Kevin J. Cunningham
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315, USA
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Robert A. Renken
Robert A. Renken
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315, USA
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Michael A. Wacker
Michael A. Wacker
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315, USA
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Michael R. Zygnerski
Michael R. Zygnerski
U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315, USA
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Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson
University of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
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Allen M. Shapiro
Allen M. Shapiro
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
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G. Lynn Wingard
G. Lynn Wingard
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2006

Combined analyses of cores, borehole geophysical logs, and cyclostratigraphy produced a new conceptual hydrogeologic framework for the triple-porosity (matrix, touching-vug, and conduit porosity) karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer in a 0.65 km2 study area, SE Florida. Vertical lithofacies successions, which have recurrent stacking patterns, fit within high-frequency cycles. We define three ideal high-frequency cycles as: (1) upward-shallowing subtidal cycles, (2) upward-shallowing paralic cycles, and (3) aggradational subtidal cycles. Digital optical borehole images, tracers, and flow meters indicate that there is a predictable vertical pattern of porosity and permeability within the three ideal cycles, because the distribution of porosity and permeability is related to lithofacies. Stratiform zones of high permeability commonly occur just above flooding surfaces in the lower part of upward-shallowing subtidal and paralic cycles, forming preferential groundwater flow zones. Aggradational subtidal cycles are either mostly high-permeability zones or leaky, low-permeability units. In the study area, groundwater flow within stratiform high-permeability zones is through a secondary pore system of touching-vug porosity principally related to molds of burrows and pelecypods and to interburrow vugs. Movement of a dye-tracer pulse observed using a borehole fluid-temperature tool during a conservative tracer test indicates heterogeneous permeability. Advective movement of the tracer appears to be most concentrated within a thin stratiform flow zone contained within the lower part of a high-frequency cycle, indicating a distinctly high relative permeability for this zone. Borehole flow-meter measurements corroborate the relatively high permeability of the flow zone. Identification and mapping of such high-permeability flow zones is crucial to conceptualization of karst groundwater flow within a cyclostratigraphic framework. Many karst aquifers are included in cyclic platform carbonates. Clearly, a cyclostratigraphic approach that translates carbonate aquifer heterogeneity into a consistent framework of correlative units will improve simulation of karst groundwater flow.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Perspectives on Karst Geomorphology, Hydrology, and Geochemistry - A Tribute Volume to Derek C. Ford and William B. White

Russell S. Harmon
Russell S. Harmon
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Carol M. Wicks
Carol M. Wicks
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Geological Society of America
Volume
404
ISBN print:
9780813724041
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

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