The Living Everglades
Everglades Information: Geology

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Geology controls the development of plant communities and associated animal communities. It the movement and storage of water under ground and, ultimately its delivery. Geology influences surface drainage and contributes to the weather, climate and hydrology of an area. Geology commands the environment, and environment is in charge of life. The geological structure of southern Florida is the foundation of the living systems of the watersheds.

Elevated above sea level about 50,000 years ago, the Everglades is one of the lowest, youngest and most geologically stable parts of the north American continent. South Florida's geology, coupled with a warm, wet subtropical climate, provided conditions for the development of a huge, freshwater marshland ecosystem. The usually flat landscape of south Florida is composed of layers of sand, marl and organic debris covering porous sedimentary rock.

The absorbent layers of rock underlying south Florida divide into three groups of water-bearing strata. The layers closest to the surface are called the surficial aquifer (known as the Biscayne Aquifer). The intermediate aquifer occurs throughout the watershed. Underlying the intermediate aquifer are older, impermeable sedimentary layers where water is confined and flows under pressure, known as the Floridian Aquifer.

About 10,000 years ago, during the post-glacial period, a geological event in southern Florida caused the rise of the sea level. High water reduced the mainland peninsula and isolated the Florida Keys. Today, wind, rain and biological and chemical processes continue to slowly change the south Florida landscape.

click the image for enlargementSurficial Geography- Click for enlargement

Geology Links

The Everglades Geology Duke University Wetland Center

Geology of Everglades National Park

Florida Everglades

The South Florida Environment-- A Region Under Stress. Geology of south Florida

Florida Geologic Survey downloadable maps

Learn about the geology of Florida - DEP

Learn about the hydrogeology of Florida - DEP

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