Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Geosciences

Advisor's Name

Laurel Collins

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Edward Robinson

Advisor's Name

Grenville Draper

Advisor's Name

Kevin Cunningham

Advisor's Name

Florentin Maurrasse

Keywords

Larger Foraminifera, Avon Park Formation, Ocala Limestone, Eocene, Paleogene, Florida, Larger Foraminiferal Morphometry, Larger Foraminiferal Biometry

Date of Defense

8-27-2010

Abstract

This study investigates the use of larger foraminifera in determining the biostratigraphy of the Avon Park Formation and the Ocala Limestone in central Florida. Sedimentary rocks of the Avon Park Formation are the oldest exposed deposits in the state of Florida, and together with the Ocala Limestone comprise a part of the confining unit of the Floridan Aquifer, a major source of Florida’s water supply.

Material from the ROMP 29A core collected by the U. S. Geological Survey was evaluated and compared to previous studies of the biostratigraphy of the formations. The larger foraminifera of the Avon Park Formation were examined in thin section, and those of the Ocala Limestone were free specimens. The larger foraminifera from both units were described and identified, and the biostratigraphy determined. The morphological features of the larger foraminifera of the Ocala Limestone were measured and analyzed at various depths within the ROMP 29A core.

The Avon Park Formation contains predominantly the shallow-water, conical foraminifera Fallotella cookei, Fallotella floridana, Pseudochrysalidina floridana, Coleiconus christianaensis, Coleiconus sp. A, Coskinolina sp. A, Coskinolina sp. B, Fallotella sp. A, Fallotella sp. B, Fabularia vaughani and larger miliolids.

The Ocala Limestone contains a different, deeper water assemblage that included the larger foraminifera Heterostegina ocalana, Lepidocyclina ocalana varieties, Lepidocyclina chaperi, Lepidocyclina pustulosa, Nummulites willcoxi, Nummulites striatoreticulatus, Nummulites floridensis and Pseudophragmina spp. A, B, and C. The age of the Avon Park Formation was corroborated by the occurrence of the biomarker echinoid Neolaganum dalli as Eocene, and the Ocala Limestone also contained Eocene larger foraminifera with Eocene to possibly Oligocene calcareous nannofossils. The distribution of the larger foraminifera of the Avon Park Formation was correlated with the subtidal and peritidal zones of the continental shelf. Analyses of variance showed that the changes in measurements of the morphology in Heterostegina ocalana, Lepidocyclina spp. and Nummulites spp. were correlated with change in the depositional environments.

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