The hydrogeologic framework for the Floridan aquifer system has been revised for eight northern coastal counties in Georgia and five coastal counties in South Carolina by incorporating new borehole geophysical and flowmeter log data collected during previous investigations. Selected well logs were compiled and analyzed to determine the vertical and horizontal continuity of permeable zones that make up the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers and to define more precisely the thickness of confining beds that separate these aquifers.
The updated framework generally conforms to the original framework established by the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1980s except for adjustments made to the internal boundaries of the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers and the individual permeable zones that compose these aquifers. The revised boundaries of the Floridan aquifer system were mapped by taking into account results from local studies and regional correlations of geologic and hydrogeologic units. Because the revised framework does not match the previous regional framework along all edges, additional work will be needed to expand the framework into adjacent areas.
The Floridan aquifer system in the northern coastal region of Georgia and parts of South Carolina can be divided into the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers, which are separated by a middle confining unit of relatively lower permeability. The Upper Floridan aquifer includes permeable and hydraulically connected carbonate rocks of Oligocene and upper Eocene age that represent the most transmissive part of the aquifer system. The middle confining unit consists of low permeability carbonate rocks that lie within the lower part of the upper Eocene in Beaufort and Jasper Counties, South Carolina, and within the upper to middle parts of the middle Eocene elsewhere. Locally, the middle confining unit contains thin zones that have moderate to high permeability and can produce water to wells that tap them. The Lower Floridan aquifer includes all permeable strata that lie below the middle confining unit and above the base of the aquifer system. Beneath Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the middle Floridan aquifer is now included as part of the Lower Floridan aquifer. The base of the Floridan aquifer system generally is located at the top of lower Eocene rocks in Georgia and the top of Paleocene rocks in South Carolina.
The Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers are interconnected to varying degrees depending on the thickness and permeability of the middle confining unit that separates these aquifers. In most places, hydraulic head differences between the two aquifers range from a few inches to a few feet or more. Monitoring at several vertically clustered well-point sites where wells were set at different depths in the aquifer revealed variations in the degree of hydraulic separation with depth. In general, the head separation between the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers increases with depth, which indicates that the deeper zones are more hydraulically separated than the shallower parts of the Lower Floridan aquifer.