Seismic reflection profiles and vibracores have revealed that an inner shelf, sand-ridge field has developed over the past few thousand years situated on an elevated, broad bedrock terrace. This terrace extends seaward of a major headland associated with the modern barrier-island coastline of west-central Florida. The overall geologic setting is a low-energy, sediment-starved, mixed siliciclastic/carbonate inner continental shelf supporting a thin sedimentary veneer. This veneer is arranged in a series of subparallel, shore-oblique, and to a minor extent, shore-parallel sand ridges. Seven major facies are present beneath the ridges, including a basal Neogene limestone gravel facies and a blue-green clay facies indicative of dominantly authigenic sedimentation. A major sequence boundary separates these older units from Holocene age, organic-rich mud facies (marsh), which grades upward into a muddy sand facies (lagoon or shallow open shelf/seagrass meadows). Cores reveal that the muddy shelf facies is either in sharp contact or grades upward into a shelly sand facies (ravinement or sudden termination of seagrass meadows). The shelly sand facies grades upward to a mixed siliciclastic/carbonate facies, which forms the sand ridges themselves. This mixed siliciclastic/carbonate facies differs from the sediment on the beach and shoreface, suggesting insignificant sediment exchange between the offshore ridges and the modern coastline. Additionally, the lack of early Holocene, pre-ridge facies in the troughs between the ridges suggests that the ridges themselves do not migrate laterally extensively. Radiocarbon dating has indicated that these sand ridges can form relatively quickly (???1.3 ka) on relatively low-energy inner shelves once open-marine conditions are available, and that frequent, high-energy, storm-dominated conditions are not necessarily required. We suggest that the two inner shelf depositional models presented (open-shelf vs. migrating barrier-island) may have co-existed spatially and/or temporally to explain the distribution of facies and vertical facies contacts. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Stratigraphic framework of sediment-starved sand ridges on a mixed siliciclastic/carbonate inner shelf; west-central Florida