Pleistocene Carbonate Stratigraphy of South Florida: Evidence for High-Frequency Sea-Level Cyclicity

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South Florida chronostratigraphy, South Florida lithostratigraphy, paleodepositional environments, carbonate accumulation, soilstone crusts, sea-level cyclicity, Pleistocene accumulation chronology

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Pleistocene carbonates of south Florida and islands of the Florida Keys are currently divided into five marine sequences designated, from oldest to youngest, the Q1–Q5 units. The units include a mosaic of freshwater and shallow marine deposits that accumulated on the Florida platform during high sea-level stands. The units are separated by regional-scale subaerial-exposure surfaces that formed during glacioeustatic lowstands. Analyses of cores recovered at Grossman Ridge Rock Reef and Joe Ree Rock Reef in the Florida Everglades reveal additional subaerial-exposure surfaces that are used to delineate subdivisions within units Q1 (Q1a–Q1b), Q2 (Q2a–Q2d), and Q4 (Q4a–Q4b). Units Q1–Q5 preserve evidence of at least 10 separate sea-level highstands, rather than 5 as indicated by previous studies.

Compilation of available uranium-series dates on corals recovered from the Florida Keys indicates that the Q4 unit accreted during sea-level maxima associated with marine oxygen-isotope Stage 9 (Q4a) and isotope Stage 7 (Q4b). The Q5 unit formed during isotope Stage 5. No reliable dates are available for units Q1–Q3. We infer that unit Q3 was formed during the extended sea-level highstand of isotope Stage 11 and that units Q2 and Q1 predate isotope Stage 11.

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Journal of Coastal Research, v. 26, issue 4, p. 605-614