A very thick (> 300 m) nearly continuous Oligocene section exists in southern peninsular Florida, as revealed by lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic (mollusks and dinocysts), chronostratigraphic (Sr isotopes) and petrographic analyses of twelve cores and two quarries. The Oligocene deposits in the subsurface of southern Florida are the thickest documented in the southeastern U.S., and they also may represent the most complete record of Oligocene deposition in this region. No major unconformities within the Oligocene section are detected in the southern portion of the peninsula; hiatuses at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, the early Oligocene-late Oligocene boundary, and the late Oligocene-Miocene boundary, are of limited duration if they exist at all. No significant disconformity is recognized between the Suwannee Limestone and the Arcadia Formation in southern Florida. However, on the east coast of Florida a hiatus of more than 12 m.y., spanning from at least the middle of the early Oligocene to early Miocene is present. The Suwannee Limestone was deposited during the early Oligocene. The top of the Suwannee Limestone appears to be diachronous across the platform. The 'Suwannee' Limestone, previously identified incorrectly as a late Oligocene unit, is herein documented to be early Oligocene and is encompassed in the lower Oligocene Suwannee Limestone. An unnamed limestone, found on the east coast of the peninsula is, at least in part, correlative with the Suwannee Limestone. The Arcadia Formation, basal Hawthorn Group, accounts for a large portion of the Oligocene deposition in southern Florida, spanning the interval from the middle of the early Oligocene to at least the early Miocene. Comparisons of the depositional patterns, and the distribution of dolomite and phosphate within the Suwannee Limestone and the Arcadia Formation, suggest fluctuating sea levels and that the paleo-Gulf Stream played a role in determining the nature and extent of Oligocene deposition in peninsular Florida.
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Reinterpretation of the peninsular Florida oligocene: An integrated stratigraphic approach