Matrix Permeability of the Confined Floridan Aquifer, Florida, USA

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Carbonate rocks, Heterogeneity, Hydraulic properties, Floridan Aquifer

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The Upper Floridan Aquifer of peninsular Florida retains most of its depositional porosity and, as a result, is a multi-porosity aquifer: double porosity (fractured porous aquifer) downdip where the aquifer is confined, and triple porosity (karstic, fractured porous aquifer) in the updip, unconfined region. Matrix permeability in the confined region varies in the range <10−14.4–10−11.1 m2, as determined by 12,000 minipermeameter measurements on 1,210 m of slabbed core. Limestones divide into 13 textural classes and dolomites into two. Depositional facies (textural class) strongly correlates with matrix permeability. As a result, the facies architecture of the Eocene and Oligocene carbonates that compose the confined portion of the aquifer controls the lateral and vertical distribution of its matrix transmissivity. The most-permeable facies are grainstones (median k, 10−12.4 m2) and sucrosic dolomites (median k, 10−12.0 m2). Together, they are responsible for ~73% of the matrix transmissivity of the logged cores, although they constitute only ~24% of the thickness. Examination of the flow equations of fractured porous aquifers suggests that the permeability of these two facies is large enough that matrix permeability cannot be discounted in modeling the hydraulics of the double-porosity system. This conclusion likely applies to most, if not all, Cenozoic double-porosity carbonate aquifers, as average matrix and fracture permeabilities in the Floridan Aquifer are similar to other Cenozoic carbonates from around the world.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Hydrogeology Journal, v. 12, issue 5, p. 531-549