The carbonate Floridan aquifer system of central and southern Florida (south of a latitude of about 29 degrees north) is an invaluable resource with a complex framework that has previously been mapped and managed primarily in a subregional context according to geopolitical boundaries. As interest and use of the Floridan aquifer system in this area increase, a consistent regional hydrogeologic framework is needed for effective management across these boundaries.
This study synthesizes previous studies on the Floridan aquifer system and introduces a new regional hydrogeologic conceptual framework, linking physical relations between central and southern Florida and between the west and east coastal areas. The differences in hydrogeologic nomenclature and interpretation across the study area from previous studies were identified and resolved. The Floridan aquifer system consists of the Upper Floridan aquifer, middle confining unit, and Lower Floridan aquifer. This study introduces and delineates a new major, regional productive zone or subaquifer, referred to as the Avon Park permeable zone. This zone is contained within the middle confining unit and synthesizes an extensive zone that has been referred to differently in different parts of the study area in previous studies. The name of this zone derives from the description of this zone as the ?Avon Park highly permeable zone? in west-central Florida in a previous study. Additionally, this zone has been identified previously in southeastern Florida as the ?middle Floridan aquifer.?
An approximately correlative or approximate time-stratigraphic framework was developed and was used to provide guidance in the identification and determination of aquifers, subaquifers, and confining units within the Floridan aquifer system and to determine their structural relations. Two stratigraphic marker horizons within the Floridan aquifer system and a marker unit near the top of the aquifer system were delineated or mapped. The marker horizons are correlative points in the stratigraphic section rather than a unit with upper and lower boundaries. The two marker horizons and the marker unit originated from previous studies, wherein they were based on lithology and correlation of geophysical log signatures observed in boreholes. The depths of these marker horizons and the marker unit were extended throughout the study area by correlation of natural gamma-ray logs between wells. The Floridan aquifer system includes, in ascending order, the upper part of the Cedar Keys Formation, Oldsmar Formation, Avon Park Formation, Ocala Limestone, Suwannee Limestone, and in some areas the lower part of the Hawthorn Group. The first marker horizon is in the lower part of the aquifer system near the top of the Oldsmar Formation and is associated with the top of distinctive glauconitic limestone beds that are present in some regions; the second marker horizon is near the middle of the aquifer system in the middle part of the Avon Park Formation. The marker unit lies at the top of a basal unit in the Hawthorn Group and provides a stratigraphic constraint for the top of the Floridan aquifer system. The marker horizons do not have distinguishing lithologic characteristics or a characteristic gamma-ray log pattern in all areas but are still thought to be valid because of correlation of the entire section and correlation of all sufficiently deep wells with gamma-ray logs.
The Avon Park permeable zone is contained entirely within the Avon Park Formation; its position within the section is either near the middle Avon Park marker horizon or within a thick part of the section that extends several hundred feet above the marker horizon. This subaquifer is present over most of the study area and characteristically consists of thick units of dolostone and interbedded limestone, and limestone in its upper part. Permeability is primarily associated with fracturing. This subaquifer is well developed in west-cen