Abstract

Morphometric characteristics of ∼25 000 karstic depressions suggest that the last phase of the post-Miocene karstic evolution within the lower Suwannee River basin of Florida has been controlled by the lower sea-level stands of the Pleistocene and the formation of the Suwannee River. During the Pleistocene, as interglacial seas retreated, marine terraces formed by sequential sea-level lowstands and the time period of subaerial exposure diminished toward the sea. Consequently, geomorphologically younger karst landforms formed as the elevation of marine terraces decreased. The evolutionary geomorphological development of this heavily karstified region produced more frequent and/or larger and more complex depressions at higher elevations. A geographic information system analysis of morphometric and spatial distribution parameters of the karstic depressions within the lower Suwannee River basin reveals that the Florida karst is represented by broad, shallow depressions with an average density of 6.07/km2 and an average pitting index of 14.5. Morphometric and spatial distribution parameters of karstic depressions show a great variation within the lower Suwannee River area and thus preclude a simple morphoclimatic classification of karst landforms. The Tertiary carbonate rocks of the subtropical Florida karst have relatively less joint frequency and significant primary porosity, and do not produce the extreme karst landforms observed in the massive limestones of the tropics.

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