Analyses of 134 core samples from the South Florida Basin show that the carbonates of Comanchean age are relatively richer in average organic carbon (0.41 percent) than those of Coahuilan age (0.28 percent), Gulfian age (0.18 percent) and Paleocene age (0.20 percent). They are also nearly twice as rich as the average world, wide carbonate (average 0.24 percent). The majority of carbonates have organic carbons less than 0.30 percent but the presence of many relatively organic rich beds composed of highly bituminous, argillaceous, highly stylolitic, and algal-bearing limestones and dolomites accounts for the higher percentage of organic carbon in some of the stratigraphic
Carbonate rocks that contain greater than 0.4 percent organic carbon and that might be considered as possible petroleum sources were noted in almost each subdivision of the Coahuilan and Comanchean Series but particularly the units of Fredericksburg 'B', Trinity 'A', Trinity 'F', and Upper Sunniland. Possible source rocks have been ascribed by others to the Lower Sunniland, but lack of sufficient samples precluded any firm assessment in this initial report.
In the shallower section of the basin, organic-rich carbonates containing as much as 3.2 percent organic carbon were observed in the lowermost part of the Gulfian Series and carbonate rocks with oil staining or 'dead' and 'live oil' were noted by others in the uppermost Gulfian and upper Cedar Keys Formation. It is questionable whether these shallower rocks are of sufficient thermal maturity to have generated commercial oil.
The South Florida basin is still sparsely drilled and produces only from the Sunniland Limestone at an average depth of 11,500 feet (3500 m). Because the Sunniland contains good reservoir rocks and apparently adequate source rocks, and because the success rate of new oil field discoveries has increased in recent years, the chances of finding additional oil reserves in the Sunniland are promising. Furthermore, the presence of possible source rocks in many of the other stratigraphic units, in particular, the Fredericksburg, should give further impetus to exploring for other productive horizons.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Distribution of organic carbon and petroleum source rock potential of Cretaceous and lower Tertiary carbonates, South Florida Basin: preliminary results
U.S. Geological Survey,
35 leaves,  leaves of ill. :ill. (some fold.), 2 maps ; 28 cm.; (46 p., 7 sheets - PGS)