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Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota

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Volume 3 of Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota; a series edited by John W. Tunnell Jr., Darryl L. Felder, and Sylvia A. Earle
  A continuation of the landmark scientific reference series from the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, Volume 3, Geology provides the most up-to-date, systematic, cohesive, and comprehensive description of the geology of the Gulf of Mexico Basin. The six sections of the book address the geologic history, recent depositional environments, and processes offshore and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.   Scientific research in the Gulf of Mexico region is continuous, extensive, and has broad-based influence upon scientific, governmental, and educational communities. This volume is a compilation of scientific knowledge from highly accomplished and experienced geologists who have focused most of their careers on gaining a better understanding of the geology of the Gulf of Mexico. Their research, presented in this volume, describes and explains the formation of the Gulf Basin, Holocene stratigraphic and sea-level history, energy resources, coral reefs, and depositional processes that affect and are represented along our Gulf coasts. It provides valuable synthesis and interpretation of what is known about the geology of the Gulf of Mexico.
  Five years in the making, this monumental compilation is both a lasting record of the current state of knowledge and the starting point for a new millennium of study.

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Part 1

ePub

Dale E. Bird, Kevin Burke, Stuart A. Hall, and John F. Casey

The formation of the Gulf of Mexico basin was preceded by the Late Triassic breakup of Pangea, which began with the collapse of the Appalachian Mountains (ca. 230 Ma; Dewey 1988). Gondwanan terranes of the southern part of the Gulf States, eastern Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula remained sutured onto the North American continent as it drifted away from the African-Arabian-South American continent (or Residual Gondwana, Burke et al. 2003). Early seafloor spreading in the central Atlantic Ocean, from about 180 Ma to 160 Ma, included 2 jumps of the seafloor-spreading center to new locations. The timing of the latter ridge jump (ca. 160 Ma) correlates with initial rifting and rotation of the Yucatan block.

The Gulf of Mexico ocean basin is almost completely bounded by continental crust. Its shape requires that at least one ocean-continent transform boundary was active while the basin was opening (Fig. 1.1). Evolutionary models differ between those that require the basin to open by rotation along a single ocean-continent transform boundary (counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan block), and those that require the basin to open by rotation along a pair of subparallel ocean-continent transform boundaries (essentially northwest-southeast motion of the Yucatan block). Although many models have been proposed, most workers now agree that counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan Peninsula block away from the North American Plate, involving a single ocean-continent transform boundary, led to the formation of the basin; many of these workers suggest that this rotation occurred between 160 Ma (Oxfordian) and 140 Ma (Berriasian-Valanginian) about a pole located within 5 of Miami, Florida (Humphris 1979; Shepherd 1983; Pindell 1985, 1994; Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Salvador 1987, 1991; Burke 1988; Ross and Scotese 1988; Christenson 1990; Buffler and Thomas 1994; Hall and Najmuddin 1994; Marton and Buffler 1994). Evidence cited for this model of basin evolution includes: (1) paleomagnetic data from the Chiapas massif of the Yucatan Peninsula (Gose et al. 1982; Molina-Garza et al. 1992), (2) fracture zone trends interpreted from magnetic data (Sheperd 1983; Hall and Najmuddin 1994), (3) non-rigid tectonic reconstructions (Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Marton and Buffler 1994), and (4) kinematic reconstructions making use of geological constraints, well data, and geophysical data such as seismic refraction, gravity, and magnetics (Pindell 1985, 1994; Christenson 1990; Marton and Buffler 1994).

 

Geologic History of the Gulf of Mexico

ePub

Dale E. Bird, Kevin Burke, Stuart A. Hall, and John F. Casey

The formation of the Gulf of Mexico basin was preceded by the Late Triassic breakup of Pangea, which began with the collapse of the Appalachian Mountains (ca. 230 Ma; Dewey 1988). Gondwanan terranes of the southern part of the Gulf States, eastern Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula remained sutured onto the North American continent as it drifted away from the African-Arabian-South American continent (or Residual Gondwana, Burke et al. 2003). Early seafloor spreading in the central Atlantic Ocean, from about 180 Ma to 160 Ma, included 2 jumps of the seafloor-spreading center to new locations. The timing of the latter ridge jump (ca. 160 Ma) correlates with initial rifting and rotation of the Yucatan block.

The Gulf of Mexico ocean basin is almost completely bounded by continental crust. Its shape requires that at least one ocean-continent transform boundary was active while the basin was opening (Fig. 1.1). Evolutionary models differ between those that require the basin to open by rotation along a single ocean-continent transform boundary (counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan block), and those that require the basin to open by rotation along a pair of subparallel ocean-continent transform boundaries (essentially northwest-southeast motion of the Yucatan block). Although many models have been proposed, most workers now agree that counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan Peninsula block away from the North American Plate, involving a single ocean-continent transform boundary, led to the formation of the basin; many of these workers suggest that this rotation occurred between 160 Ma (Oxfordian) and 140 Ma (Berriasian-Valanginian) about a pole located within 5 of Miami, Florida (Humphris 1979; Shepherd 1983; Pindell 1985, 1994; Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Salvador 1987, 1991; Burke 1988; Ross and Scotese 1988; Christenson 1990; Buffler and Thomas 1994; Hall and Najmuddin 1994; Marton and Buffler 1994). Evidence cited for this model of basin evolution includes: (1) paleomagnetic data from the Chiapas massif of the Yucatan Peninsula (Gose et al. 1982; Molina-Garza et al. 1992), (2) fracture zone trends interpreted from magnetic data (Sheperd 1983; Hall and Najmuddin 1994), (3) non-rigid tectonic reconstructions (Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Marton and Buffler 1994), and (4) kinematic reconstructions making use of geological constraints, well data, and geophysical data such as seismic refraction, gravity, and magnetics (Pindell 1985, 1994; Christenson 1990; Marton and Buffler 1994).

 

1

ePub

Dale E. Bird, Kevin Burke, Stuart A. Hall, and John F. Casey

The formation of the Gulf of Mexico basin was preceded by the Late Triassic breakup of Pangea, which began with the collapse of the Appalachian Mountains (ca. 230 Ma; Dewey 1988). Gondwanan terranes of the southern part of the Gulf States, eastern Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula remained sutured onto the North American continent as it drifted away from the African-Arabian-South American continent (or Residual Gondwana, Burke et al. 2003). Early seafloor spreading in the central Atlantic Ocean, from about 180 Ma to 160 Ma, included 2 jumps of the seafloor-spreading center to new locations. The timing of the latter ridge jump (ca. 160 Ma) correlates with initial rifting and rotation of the Yucatan block.

The Gulf of Mexico ocean basin is almost completely bounded by continental crust. Its shape requires that at least one ocean-continent transform boundary was active while the basin was opening (Fig. 1.1). Evolutionary models differ between those that require the basin to open by rotation along a single ocean-continent transform boundary (counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan block), and those that require the basin to open by rotation along a pair of subparallel ocean-continent transform boundaries (essentially northwest-southeast motion of the Yucatan block). Although many models have been proposed, most workers now agree that counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan Peninsula block away from the North American Plate, involving a single ocean-continent transform boundary, led to the formation of the basin; many of these workers suggest that this rotation occurred between 160 Ma (Oxfordian) and 140 Ma (Berriasian-Valanginian) about a pole located within 5 of Miami, Florida (Humphris 1979; Shepherd 1983; Pindell 1985, 1994; Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Salvador 1987, 1991; Burke 1988; Ross and Scotese 1988; Christenson 1990; Buffler and Thomas 1994; Hall and Najmuddin 1994; Marton and Buffler 1994). Evidence cited for this model of basin evolution includes: (1) paleomagnetic data from the Chiapas massif of the Yucatan Peninsula (Gose et al. 1982; Molina-Garza et al. 1992), (2) fracture zone trends interpreted from magnetic data (Sheperd 1983; Hall and Najmuddin 1994), (3) non-rigid tectonic reconstructions (Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Marton and Buffler 1994), and (4) kinematic reconstructions making use of geological constraints, well data, and geophysical data such as seismic refraction, gravity, and magnetics (Pindell 1985, 1994; Christenson 1990; Marton and Buffler 1994).

 

Tectonic Evolution of the Gulf of Mexico Basin

ePub

Dale E. Bird, Kevin Burke, Stuart A. Hall, and John F. Casey

The formation of the Gulf of Mexico basin was preceded by the Late Triassic breakup of Pangea, which began with the collapse of the Appalachian Mountains (ca. 230 Ma; Dewey 1988). Gondwanan terranes of the southern part of the Gulf States, eastern Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula remained sutured onto the North American continent as it drifted away from the African-Arabian-South American continent (or Residual Gondwana, Burke et al. 2003). Early seafloor spreading in the central Atlantic Ocean, from about 180 Ma to 160 Ma, included 2 jumps of the seafloor-spreading center to new locations. The timing of the latter ridge jump (ca. 160 Ma) correlates with initial rifting and rotation of the Yucatan block.

The Gulf of Mexico ocean basin is almost completely bounded by continental crust. Its shape requires that at least one ocean-continent transform boundary was active while the basin was opening (Fig. 1.1). Evolutionary models differ between those that require the basin to open by rotation along a single ocean-continent transform boundary (counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan block), and those that require the basin to open by rotation along a pair of subparallel ocean-continent transform boundaries (essentially northwest-southeast motion of the Yucatan block). Although many models have been proposed, most workers now agree that counterclockwise rotation of the Yucatan Peninsula block away from the North American Plate, involving a single ocean-continent transform boundary, led to the formation of the basin; many of these workers suggest that this rotation occurred between 160 Ma (Oxfordian) and 140 Ma (Berriasian-Valanginian) about a pole located within 5 of Miami, Florida (Humphris 1979; Shepherd 1983; Pindell 1985, 1994; Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Salvador 1987, 1991; Burke 1988; Ross and Scotese 1988; Christenson 1990; Buffler and Thomas 1994; Hall and Najmuddin 1994; Marton and Buffler 1994). Evidence cited for this model of basin evolution includes: (1) paleomagnetic data from the Chiapas massif of the Yucatan Peninsula (Gose et al. 1982; Molina-Garza et al. 1992), (2) fracture zone trends interpreted from magnetic data (Sheperd 1983; Hall and Najmuddin 1994), (3) non-rigid tectonic reconstructions (Dunbar and Sawyer 1987; Marton and Buffler 1994), and (4) kinematic reconstructions making use of geological constraints, well data, and geophysical data such as seismic refraction, gravity, and magnetics (Pindell 1985, 1994; Christenson 1990; Marton and Buffler 1994).

 

2

ePub

Pre-Mesozoic to Recent

Thomas M. Scott

The Florida Platform is delimited by the 200 m (600 ft) isobath at the shelf break to the approximate location of the Paleozoic suture beneath southern Georgia and Alabama (Fig. 2.1). The SuwanneeWiggins Suture (Thomas et al. 1989) is the proposed location where terranes with African affinities are welded to the North American Plate (Chowns and Williams 1983; McBride and Nelson 1988; Woods et al. 1991). The basement rocks of the Florida Platform are a fragment of the African Plate that remained attached to the North American Plate when rifting occurred in the Jurassic and range in age from late Precambrian-early Cambrian to mid-Jurassic (Barnett 1975). Excellent reviews of the geology of the basement are provided by Smith (1982), Arthur (1988), Smith and Lord (1997), and Heatherington and Mueller (1997). Barnett (1975) provided a structure contour map of the sub-Zuni surface. This surface equates to what is now recognized as pre-Middle Jurassic. Barnetts interpretation of the basement surface has it occurring as shallow as approximately 915 m (3000 ft) below mean sea level (msl) in central-northern peninsular Florida. The basement surface dips west and southwest toward the Gulf of Mexico basin, to the south into the South Florida basin, and to the east into the Atlantic basin. The basement surface reaches depths of more than 5180 m (17,000 ft) below msl in southern Florida (Barnett 1975).

 

Geology of the Florida Platform

ePub

Pre-Mesozoic to Recent

Thomas M. Scott

The Florida Platform is delimited by the 200 m (600 ft) isobath at the shelf break to the approximate location of the Paleozoic suture beneath southern Georgia and Alabama (Fig. 2.1). The SuwanneeWiggins Suture (Thomas et al. 1989) is the proposed location where terranes with African affinities are welded to the North American Plate (Chowns and Williams 1983; McBride and Nelson 1988; Woods et al. 1991). The basement rocks of the Florida Platform are a fragment of the African Plate that remained attached to the North American Plate when rifting occurred in the Jurassic and range in age from late Precambrian-early Cambrian to mid-Jurassic (Barnett 1975). Excellent reviews of the geology of the basement are provided by Smith (1982), Arthur (1988), Smith and Lord (1997), and Heatherington and Mueller (1997). Barnett (1975) provided a structure contour map of the sub-Zuni surface. This surface equates to what is now recognized as pre-Middle Jurassic. Barnetts interpretation of the basement surface has it occurring as shallow as approximately 915 m (3000 ft) below mean sea level (msl) in central-northern peninsular Florida. The basement surface dips west and southwest toward the Gulf of Mexico basin, to the south into the South Florida basin, and to the east into the Atlantic basin. The basement surface reaches depths of more than 5180 m (17,000 ft) below msl in southern Florida (Barnett 1975).

 

3

ePub

William E. Galloway

The Gulf of Mexico is a small ocean basin lying between the North American Plate and the Yucatan block. It contains within its depocenter a succession of Jurassic through Holocene strata that is as much as 20 km thick. Sediment supply from the North American continent has filled nearly one-half of the basin since its inception, primarily by offlap of the northern and northwestern margins. The Gulf of Mexico basin is a world-class repository of hydrocarbons (Nehring 1991). It has been actively explored for nearly 100 years, creating a three-dimensional well and reflection seismic database of unique abundance, extent, and diversity. Because of this history, the northern Gulf has served, for more than 50 years, as a natural laboratory for understanding the sedimentary processes, facies, stratigraphy, and gravity tectonics of prograding continental margins. This chapter will focus on the history of this northern fill, with emphasis on the area beneath the present continental shelf of the northern Gulf.

 

Pre-Holocene Geological Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Basin

ePub

William E. Galloway

The Gulf of Mexico is a small ocean basin lying between the North American Plate and the Yucatan block. It contains within its depocenter a succession of Jurassic through Holocene strata that is as much as 20 km thick. Sediment supply from the North American continent has filled nearly one-half of the basin since its inception, primarily by offlap of the northern and northwestern margins. The Gulf of Mexico basin is a world-class repository of hydrocarbons (Nehring 1991). It has been actively explored for nearly 100 years, creating a three-dimensional well and reflection seismic database of unique abundance, extent, and diversity. Because of this history, the northern Gulf has served, for more than 50 years, as a natural laboratory for understanding the sedimentary processes, facies, stratigraphy, and gravity tectonics of prograding continental margins. This chapter will focus on the history of this northern fill, with emphasis on the area beneath the present continental shelf of the northern Gulf.

 

4

ePub

James H. Balsillie and Joseph F. Donoghue

This chapter is in memory of Jim Balsillie who passed away after a long illness. He was a pioneer in coastal sedimentary research and added new dimensions to our understanding of coastal change. His many admirers in both the geologic and engineering communities will miss his sharp insight and good humor. He was a good geologist and great friend.

High-resolution, composite sea-level curves have been developed for the northern Gulf of Mexico for the period since the Last Glacial Maximum. The goal of this work was twofold: (1) to define the regional sea-level history of the northern Gulf of Mexico using all of the available geochronological data on sea-level history, and (2) to examine the hypothesis that, for stable coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico coastline, sea-level history approximates global (i.e., eustatic) sea level. The resulting sea-level curves are based on all available carbon-dated indicators of paleo-sea level and represent, on average, one measurement every 65 years for the past 20,000 years. The data sets consist primarily of geological sea-level indicators, along with some dates from archaeological artifacts.

 

Northern Gulf of Mexico Sea-Level History for the Past 20,000 Years

ePub

James H. Balsillie and Joseph F. Donoghue

This chapter is in memory of Jim Balsillie who passed away after a long illness. He was a pioneer in coastal sedimentary research and added new dimensions to our understanding of coastal change. His many admirers in both the geologic and engineering communities will miss his sharp insight and good humor. He was a good geologist and great friend.

High-resolution, composite sea-level curves have been developed for the northern Gulf of Mexico for the period since the Last Glacial Maximum. The goal of this work was twofold: (1) to define the regional sea-level history of the northern Gulf of Mexico using all of the available geochronological data on sea-level history, and (2) to examine the hypothesis that, for stable coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico coastline, sea-level history approximates global (i.e., eustatic) sea level. The resulting sea-level curves are based on all available carbon-dated indicators of paleo-sea level and represent, on average, one measurement every 65 years for the past 20,000 years. The data sets consist primarily of geological sea-level indicators, along with some dates from archaeological artifacts.

 

Part 2

ePub

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor

Gregg R. Brooks

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor are the 2 largest estuaries in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They lie in close proximity to one another, separated by less than 200 km, along the westward-facing, barrier-island Gulf Coast of peninsular Florida (Fig. 5.1). They have similar dimensions, share the same regional geological setting, have a similar climate (humid subtropical), and share a similar oceanographic setting (tide and wave regimes). Geologic research over the past 50 years has developed slower for Charlotte Harbor than for Tampa Bay. Over the past 20 years, studies have focused on the recent geologic history and modern depositional units because interests and funding have concentrated more on anthropogenic impacts and environmental concerns.

Figure 5.1. Location map of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor along the Florida Gulf Coast (modified from Randazzo and Jones 1997).

Setting

Tampa Bay is a large multilobed system of interconnected bays and lagoons (Fig. 5.2). It covers over 1000 km2, but despite its large aerial extent is rather shallow with an average depth of 4 m. It has been naturally divided into 5 physiographic subregions. Middle and lower Tampa Bay form the main body, which is 1520 km in width, 30 km in length, and contains 58% of the total area. Fifty percent of middle and lower Tampa Bay is 26 m deep, and 30% attains depths >6 m. Almost all of the depths >6 m are in this part of the bay. Old Tampa Bay, the northwestern lobe, is approximately 25 km long, 510 km wide, and comprises 26% of the bay area. Almost 38% is <2 m deep and 2% is covered by water depths >6 m. Hillsborough Bay, the northeastern lobe, is approximately 15 km long by 7 km wide and comprises approximately 10% of the bay complex. Its depth distribution is similar to that of Old Tampa Bay. Boca Ciega Bay, located north of the mouth of Tampa Bay, is not technically part of the estuary but is a small lagoon behind the coastal barrier islands. Much of Boca Ciega Bay has been dredged and filled, resulting in a substantial decrease in estuarine habitat. Greater than 75% of Boca Ciega Bay is <2 m in depth (Goodell and Gorsline 1961).

 

Eastern Gulf of Mexico

ePub

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor

Gregg R. Brooks

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor are the 2 largest estuaries in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They lie in close proximity to one another, separated by less than 200 km, along the westward-facing, barrier-island Gulf Coast of peninsular Florida (Fig. 5.1). They have similar dimensions, share the same regional geological setting, have a similar climate (humid subtropical), and share a similar oceanographic setting (tide and wave regimes). Geologic research over the past 50 years has developed slower for Charlotte Harbor than for Tampa Bay. Over the past 20 years, studies have focused on the recent geologic history and modern depositional units because interests and funding have concentrated more on anthropogenic impacts and environmental concerns.

Figure 5.1. Location map of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor along the Florida Gulf Coast (modified from Randazzo and Jones 1997).

Setting

Tampa Bay is a large multilobed system of interconnected bays and lagoons (Fig. 5.2). It covers over 1000 km2, but despite its large aerial extent is rather shallow with an average depth of 4 m. It has been naturally divided into 5 physiographic subregions. Middle and lower Tampa Bay form the main body, which is 1520 km in width, 30 km in length, and contains 58% of the total area. Fifty percent of middle and lower Tampa Bay is 26 m deep, and 30% attains depths >6 m. Almost all of the depths >6 m are in this part of the bay. Old Tampa Bay, the northwestern lobe, is approximately 25 km long, 510 km wide, and comprises 26% of the bay area. Almost 38% is <2 m deep and 2% is covered by water depths >6 m. Hillsborough Bay, the northeastern lobe, is approximately 15 km long by 7 km wide and comprises approximately 10% of the bay complex. Its depth distribution is similar to that of Old Tampa Bay. Boca Ciega Bay, located north of the mouth of Tampa Bay, is not technically part of the estuary but is a small lagoon behind the coastal barrier islands. Much of Boca Ciega Bay has been dredged and filled, resulting in a substantial decrease in estuarine habitat. Greater than 75% of Boca Ciega Bay is <2 m in depth (Goodell and Gorsline 1961).

 

5

ePub

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor

Gregg R. Brooks

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor are the 2 largest estuaries in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They lie in close proximity to one another, separated by less than 200 km, along the westward-facing, barrier-island Gulf Coast of peninsular Florida (Fig. 5.1). They have similar dimensions, share the same regional geological setting, have a similar climate (humid subtropical), and share a similar oceanographic setting (tide and wave regimes). Geologic research over the past 50 years has developed slower for Charlotte Harbor than for Tampa Bay. Over the past 20 years, studies have focused on the recent geologic history and modern depositional units because interests and funding have concentrated more on anthropogenic impacts and environmental concerns.

Figure 5.1. Location map of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor along the Florida Gulf Coast (modified from Randazzo and Jones 1997).

Setting

Tampa Bay is a large multilobed system of interconnected bays and lagoons (Fig. 5.2). It covers over 1000 km2, but despite its large aerial extent is rather shallow with an average depth of 4 m. It has been naturally divided into 5 physiographic subregions. Middle and lower Tampa Bay form the main body, which is 1520 km in width, 30 km in length, and contains 58% of the total area. Fifty percent of middle and lower Tampa Bay is 26 m deep, and 30% attains depths >6 m. Almost all of the depths >6 m are in this part of the bay. Old Tampa Bay, the northwestern lobe, is approximately 25 km long, 510 km wide, and comprises 26% of the bay area. Almost 38% is <2 m deep and 2% is covered by water depths >6 m. Hillsborough Bay, the northeastern lobe, is approximately 15 km long by 7 km wide and comprises approximately 10% of the bay complex. Its depth distribution is similar to that of Old Tampa Bay. Boca Ciega Bay, located north of the mouth of Tampa Bay, is not technically part of the estuary but is a small lagoon behind the coastal barrier islands. Much of Boca Ciega Bay has been dredged and filled, resulting in a substantial decrease in estuarine habitat. Greater than 75% of Boca Ciega Bay is <2 m in depth (Goodell and Gorsline 1961).

 

Florida Gulf Coast Estuaries

ePub

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor

Gregg R. Brooks

Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor are the 2 largest estuaries in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They lie in close proximity to one another, separated by less than 200 km, along the westward-facing, barrier-island Gulf Coast of peninsular Florida (Fig. 5.1). They have similar dimensions, share the same regional geological setting, have a similar climate (humid subtropical), and share a similar oceanographic setting (tide and wave regimes). Geologic research over the past 50 years has developed slower for Charlotte Harbor than for Tampa Bay. Over the past 20 years, studies have focused on the recent geologic history and modern depositional units because interests and funding have concentrated more on anthropogenic impacts and environmental concerns.

Figure 5.1. Location map of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor along the Florida Gulf Coast (modified from Randazzo and Jones 1997).

Setting

Tampa Bay is a large multilobed system of interconnected bays and lagoons (Fig. 5.2). It covers over 1000 km2, but despite its large aerial extent is rather shallow with an average depth of 4 m. It has been naturally divided into 5 physiographic subregions. Middle and lower Tampa Bay form the main body, which is 1520 km in width, 30 km in length, and contains 58% of the total area. Fifty percent of middle and lower Tampa Bay is 26 m deep, and 30% attains depths >6 m. Almost all of the depths >6 m are in this part of the bay. Old Tampa Bay, the northwestern lobe, is approximately 25 km long, 510 km wide, and comprises 26% of the bay area. Almost 38% is <2 m deep and 2% is covered by water depths >6 m. Hillsborough Bay, the northeastern lobe, is approximately 15 km long by 7 km wide and comprises approximately 10% of the bay complex. Its depth distribution is similar to that of Old Tampa Bay. Boca Ciega Bay, located north of the mouth of Tampa Bay, is not technically part of the estuary but is a small lagoon behind the coastal barrier islands. Much of Boca Ciega Bay has been dredged and filled, resulting in a substantial decrease in estuarine habitat. Greater than 75% of Boca Ciega Bay is <2 m in depth (Goodell and Gorsline 1961).

 

6

ePub

Richard A. Davis

The Gulf Coast of Florida includes 4 geomorphically distinct provinces. From south to north they are: (1) southwest Florida, which includes the tide-dominated Ten Thousand Islands and south to Cape Sable at Florida Bay, (2) the mixed-energy barrierinlet system of the central coast, (3) the tide-dominated Big Bend coast, and (4) the wave-dominated barrier coast of the panhandle (Fig. 6.1). This diverse coastal morphology has been variously impacted by hurricanes over geologic time and by human activity of a wide range of types and intensities during the past century.

Figure 6.1. Map of Florida showing the major coastal elements.

The discussion will consider our state of knowledge of how these coastal provinces and their contained elements have been behaving during the period of intense development pressures and rising sea level and also will consider how they will behave during the next several decades. Emphasis will be on the 2 barrier island systems because these are the ones that are impacted most severely by human intervention and that experience the most change.

 

Beaches, Barrier Islands, and Inlets of the Florida Gulf Coast

ePub

Richard A. Davis

The Gulf Coast of Florida includes 4 geomorphically distinct provinces. From south to north they are: (1) southwest Florida, which includes the tide-dominated Ten Thousand Islands and south to Cape Sable at Florida Bay, (2) the mixed-energy barrierinlet system of the central coast, (3) the tide-dominated Big Bend coast, and (4) the wave-dominated barrier coast of the panhandle (Fig. 6.1). This diverse coastal morphology has been variously impacted by hurricanes over geologic time and by human activity of a wide range of types and intensities during the past century.

Figure 6.1. Map of Florida showing the major coastal elements.

The discussion will consider our state of knowledge of how these coastal provinces and their contained elements have been behaving during the period of intense development pressures and rising sea level and also will consider how they will behave during the next several decades. Emphasis will be on the 2 barrier island systems because these are the ones that are impacted most severely by human intervention and that experience the most change.

 

7

ePub

Great Contrasts and Significant Transitions

Albert C. Hine and Stanley D. Locker

The Florida Gulf of Mexico shelf is ~900 km long (following the 75 m bathymetric line) and passes through 6.5 of latitude (~700 km), ranges from 25 to 250 km wide and features a broad range of seafloor morphologies, bathymetric gradients, sediment types, benthic biology communities, hardbottom exposures, paleo sea-level indicators, reefs and reefal structures, and paleofluvialpaleo-deltaic activity (Fig. 7.1). The shelf can be segmented into 2 end members: (1) a siliciclastic and sand-dominated northwest shelf off the Florida Panhandle, which has been significantly influenced by rivers and river deltas, and (2) a carbonate-dominated shelf off the southwestern Florida Peninsula with reefs, inner-shelf carbonate muds, outer-shelf skeletal sands, and lithified, submerged calcarenitic (ooliticskeletal grainstones) paleo-shorelines. The portion in between is a vast transition zone that has been starved of both siliciclastic and carbonate sediments and features extensively exposed Neogene-age limestone hardbottom. This hardbottom has been shaped by surficial and subterranean karst processes during sea-level lowstands and marine bioerosion during marine flooding events.

 

Florida Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf

ePub

Great Contrasts and Significant Transitions

Albert C. Hine and Stanley D. Locker

The Florida Gulf of Mexico shelf is ~900 km long (following the 75 m bathymetric line) and passes through 6.5 of latitude (~700 km), ranges from 25 to 250 km wide and features a broad range of seafloor morphologies, bathymetric gradients, sediment types, benthic biology communities, hardbottom exposures, paleo sea-level indicators, reefs and reefal structures, and paleofluvialpaleo-deltaic activity (Fig. 7.1). The shelf can be segmented into 2 end members: (1) a siliciclastic and sand-dominated northwest shelf off the Florida Panhandle, which has been significantly influenced by rivers and river deltas, and (2) a carbonate-dominated shelf off the southwestern Florida Peninsula with reefs, inner-shelf carbonate muds, outer-shelf skeletal sands, and lithified, submerged calcarenitic (ooliticskeletal grainstones) paleo-shorelines. The portion in between is a vast transition zone that has been starved of both siliciclastic and carbonate sediments and features extensively exposed Neogene-age limestone hardbottom. This hardbottom has been shaped by surficial and subterranean karst processes during sea-level lowstands and marine bioerosion during marine flooding events.

 

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