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Aquifers of the peninsulas of Florida and northern Yucatan are Tertiary marine carbonate formations showing many lithologic and faunal similarities. In addition, the tropical to subtropical climates of the two areas are similar, each having annual rainfall of about 1000 to 1500 mm. Despite similarities in these fundamental controls, contrasts in the hydrologic and geochemical systems are numerous and striking. For example, Florida has many rivers; Yucatan has none. Maximum thickness of fresh ground water in Florida is about 700 meters; in the Yucatan it is less than 70 meters. In Florida the gradient of the potentiometric surface averages about 1 meter per kilometer; in the Yucatan it is exceedingly low, averaging about 0.02 meter per kilometer. In Florida the chemical character of water changes systematically downgradient, owing to solution of minerals of the aquifer and corresponding increases in total dissolved solids, sulfate, calcium, and Mg-Ca ratio; in the Yucatan no downgradient change exists, and dominant processes controlling the chemical character of the water are solution of minerals and simple mixing of the fresh water and the body of salt water that underlies the peninsula at shallow depth. Hydrologic and chemical differences are caused in part by the lower altitude of the Yucatan plain. More important, however, these differences are due to the lack of an upper confining bed in Yucatan that is hydrologically equivalent to the Hawthorn Formation of Florida. The Hawthorn cover prevents recharge and confines the artesian water except where it is punctured by sinkholes, but sands and other unconsolidated sediments fill sinkholes and cavities and impede circulation. In the Yucatan the permeability of the entire section is so enormous that rainfall immediately infiltrates to the water table and then moves laterally to discharge areas along the coasts. ?? 1970.
Additional Publication Details
Comparison of chemical hydrogeology of the carbonate peninsulas of Florida and Yucatan