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Geologic Controls on the Formation of Lakes in North-Central Florida
Fluid exchange between surficial waters and groundwater, as well as the processes that control this exchange, are of critical concern to water management districts and planners. Digital high-resolution seismic systems were used to collect geophysical data from 30 lakes of north-central Florida. Although using seismic profile data in the past has been less than successful, the use of digital technology has increased the potential for success. Seismic profiles collected from the lakes of north-central Florida have shown the potential application of these techniques in understanding the formation of individual lakes. In each case study, lake structure and geomorphology were controlled by solution and/or mechanical processes. Processes that control lake development are twofold: 1) karstification or dissolution of the underlying limestone, and 2) me collapse, subsidence, or slumping of overburden to form sinkholes. Initial lake formation is directly related to the karst topography of the underlying host limestone. Lake size and shape are a factor of the thickness of overburden and size of the collapse or subsidence and/or clustering of depressions allowing for lake development. Lake development is through progressive sequence stages to maturity that can be delineated into geomorphic types. Case studies have shown that lakes can be divided by geomorphic types into progressive developmental phases: (1) active subsidence or collapse phase (young) - the open to partially filled collapse structures typically associated with sink holes; (2) transitional phase (middle age) - the sinkhole is plugged as the voids within the collapse are filled with sediment, periodic reactivation may occur; (3) baselevel phase (mature) - active sinkholes are progressively plugged by the continual erosion of material into the basin, and eventually sediment fills the basins; and (4) polje (drowned prairie) - broad flat-bottom basins located within the epiphreatic zone that are inundated at high stages of the water table and have one or all phases of sinkhole development and many types of karst and karren features.
Most lakes in this study have a small diameter (<1 km) making stratigraphic correlations from lake to lake difficult. Seismic profiles of subsurface features were used to define the lake geologic history and to locate possible breaches in the confining layer that maintains these lakes. Nine types of acoustical signatures were identified from the profiles to describe the structural history of each lake. Using these criteria, Florida lakes can be classified by size, fill, subsurface features, and geomorphology. Classification of the lakes has led to a better understanding of the relation between the geology and hydrology of Florida.
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