Composition and Significance of the Peat Deposits of Florida Bay
Abstract:Late Holocene vegetation and geologic history of Horida Bay is elucidated by analysis of the petrographic/botanical compositions of its surface and subsurface peat deposits. Over 600 sites were investigated, of which 134 were found to contain some peat. Most of these peat deposits were overlain by marine carbonate-rich marls. A representative selection of these peat deposits was sampled and analyzed using piston coring and microtome-sectioning procedures.
Peat types representing 12 different depositional environments were identified. Three of these represent marine, mangrove-dominated settings (Rhizophora Peat, Rhizophora-Avicennia Peat, and Avicennia Peat); two are transitional settings (Rhizophora Transitional Peat and Conocarpus Transitional Peat); and seven represent freshwater settings (Mariscus [Cladium] Peat, Acrostichum Peat, Acrostichum-Mariscus Peat, Mariscus-Nymphaea Peat, Mariscus-Cephalanthus Peat, Cephalanlhus Peat, and Myrica-Persea-Salix Peat).
The properties used in defining each peat type and in reconstructing its environment of deposition were the abundances and types of: 1) identifiable plant fragments, 2) plant decomposition products, 3) animal remains (such as sponge spicules, radiolaria, foraminifera, shell fragments, and insect parts), and 4) mineral components (such as carbonates and pyrite).
The identification of the freshwater peat types at all sites analyzed is especially significant because these types represent depositional settings that do not occur in Horida Bay today but are presently forming on the mainland in the Everglades. The evidence thus supports an hypothesis that the peat deposits of Horida Bay represent erosional remnants of a more extensive area offreshwater Everglades-type peat that occupied portions of this region before it was converted to Horida Bay by a transgressing sea.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1989-01-01
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