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Characterization of aquifer heterogeneity using Cyclostratigraphy and geophysical methods in the upper part of the Karstic Biscayne Aquifer, Southeastern Florida

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4208

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Abstract

This report identifies and characterizes candidate ground-water flow zones in the upper part of the shallow, eogenetic karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer in the Lake Belt area of north-central Miami-Dade County using cyclostratigraphy, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), borehole geophysical logs, and continuously drilled cores. About 60 miles of GPR profiles were used to calculate depths to shallow geologic contacts and hydrogeologic units, image karst features, and produce qualitative views of the porosity distribution. Descriptions of the lithology, rock fabrics, and cyclostratigraphy, and interpretation of depositional environments of 50 test coreholes were linked to the geophysical interpretations to provide an accurate hydrogeologic framework. Molluscan and benthic foraminiferal paleontologic constraints guided interpretation of depositional environments represented by rockfabric facies. Digital borehole images were used to characterize and quantify large-scale vuggy porosity. Preliminary heat-pulse flowmeter data were coupled with the digital borehole image data to identify candidate ground-water flow zones. Combined results show that the porosity and permeability of the karst limestone of the Biscayne aquifer have a highly heterogeneous and anisotropic distribution that is mostly related to secondary porosity overprinting vertical stacking of rock-fabric facies within high-frequency cycles (HFCs). This distribution of porosity produces a dual-porosity system consisting of diffuse-carbonate and conduit flow zones. The nonuniform ground-water flow in the upper part of the Biscayne aquifer is mostly localized through secondary permeability, the result of solution-enlarged carbonate grains, depositional textures, bedding planes, cracks, root molds, and paleokarst surfaces. Many of the resulting pore types are classified as touching vugs. GPR, borehole geophysical logs, and whole-core analyses show that there is an empirical relation between formation porosity, permeability, formation electrical conductivity, and GPR reflection amplitudes? as porosity and permeability increase, formation electrical conductivity increases and reflection amplitude decreases. This relation was observed throughout the entire vertical and lateral section of the upper part of the Biscayne aquifer in the study area. Further, upward-shallowing brackish- or freshwatercapped cycles of the upper part of the Fort Thompson Formation show low-amplitude reflections near their base that correspond to relatively higher porosity and permeability. This distribution is related to a systematic vertical stacking of rock-fabric facies within the cycle. Inferred flow characteristics of the porosity distribution within the upper part of the Biscayne aquifer were used to identify four ground-water flow classes, with each characterized by a discrete pore system that affects vertical and horizontal groundwater flow: (1) a low-permeability peat, muck, and marl ground-water flow class; (2) a horizontal conduit ground-water flow class; (3) a leaky, low-permeability ground-water flow class; and (4) a diffuse-carbonate ground-water flow class. At the top of the Biscayne aquifer, peat, muck, and marl can combine to form a relatively low-permeability layer of Holocene sediment that water moves through slowly. Most horizontal conduit flow is inferred to occur along touching vugs in portions of the following rock-fabric facies: (1) touchingvug pelecypod floatstone and rudstone, (2) sandy touching-vug pelecypod floatstone and rudstone, (3) vuggy wackestone and packstone, (4) laminated peloid grainstone and packstone, (5) peloid grainstone and packstone, and (6) peloid wackestone and packstone. Gastropod floatstone and rudstone, mudstone and wackestone, and pedogenic limestone rock-fabric facies are the main hosts for leaky, low-permeability units. This study provides evidence that the limestone that spans the base of the Miami Limestone and top of the Fort Thompson

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Characterization of aquifer heterogeneity using Cyclostratigraphy and geophysical methods in the upper part of the Karstic Biscayne Aquifer, Southeastern Florida
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
2003-4208
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2004
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
66 p. w/references, maps, CD-ROM
Scale:
48