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Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies > Professional Paper 1751

Systematic Mapping of Bedrock and Habitats along the Florida Reef Tract—Central Key Largo to Halfmoon Shoal (Gulf of Mexico)

USGS Professional Paper 1751

by Barbara H. Lidz, Christopher D. Reich, and Eugene A. Shinn

Introduction:
Table of Contents
Project Overview
Project Objective
Geologic Setting
Primary Datasets
Primary Products - Overview Maps & Evolution Overview:
Bedrock Surface map.
Introduction
Depth to Pleistocene Bedrock Surface
Reef & Sediment Thickness
Benthic Ecosystems & Environments
Sedimentary Grains in 1989
Summary Illustration Index Map
Evolution Overview
Tile-by-Tile Analysis
Satellite image of the Florida Keys showing location of tiles.
Organization of Report
Tiles: 1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7/8, 9/10,
11
Summary
Acknowledg-
ments
References
Disclaimer
Related
Publications

Tile 2

Plantation, Windley, and Lignumvitae Keys: Plantation and Windley Keys (Figs. 42B, 46B) have some of the highest elevations (~5.5 m above sea level) in the inhabited islands of the Florida Keys (Lidz and Shinn, 1991). Elevation of Lignumvitae Key is comparable, though the island is uninhabited. Lignumvitae Key has enough soil to support a dense hardwood forest that is fringed on its south side by mangroves (see Benthic Ecosystems for Tile 2).

Windley Key is the site of an old limestone quarry. Though closed as an active quarry many years ago, quarrying activities left a valuable dry-land view inside the coral reef that built the middle and upper Keys about 125 ka (e.g., Hoffmeister et al., 1967). The coral reef is known as the Key Largo Limestone (Sanford, 1909).

Entire coral skeletons are visible in the quarry walls (Fig. 46A, 47B). The reef varies in composition but typically contains massive reef-framework-building head corals Montastrea annularis, M. cavernosa, Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea, Solenastrea bournoni, Colpophyllia natans, and Diploria strigosa (e.g., Hoffmeister et al., 1967; Hoffmeister and Multer, 1968; Hoffmeister, 1974; Perkins, 1977). Montastrea annularis is by far the dominant coral in this reef and elsewhere in the Pleistocene coral record of Florida. (See Regional Geologic Setting for an explanation of the Pleistocene.)

Photo of coral skeletons in wall of Windley Key Quarry. Photo shows skeletal Diploria species in Windley Key Quarry wall.
Figure 47. (A) Photo of coral skeletons in wall of Windley Key Quarry. Vertical holes are drill bore sites for cutting and excavating limestone blocks. (B) Photo shows skeletal Diploria species in Windley Key Quarry wall. [larger version]

Because of its historic and scientific significance, the quarry was designated the Windley Key Fossil Reef Quarry State Geological Site in January 1999. The site now includes a museum that houses a pictorial history of the quarry and hands-on displays that explain the story of the ancient coral reef.

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies > Professional Paper 1751

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