Sublake geologic structure from high-resolution seismic-reflection data from four sinkhole lakes in the Lake Wales Ridge, central Florida

Open-File Report 96-224
By: , and 



Seismic-reflection profiles from Lake Wales, Blue Lake, Lake Letta, and Lake Apthorp located along the Lake Wales Ridge in central Florida provide local detail within the regional hydrogeologic framework as described by litho- and hydrostratigraphic cross sections. Lakes located with the mantled karst region have long been considered to be sinkhole lakes, originating from subsidence activity. High-resolution seismic- reflection data confirm this origin for these four lakes. The geologic framework of the Lake Wales Ridge has proven to be a suitable geologic setting for continuous high-resolution seismic-reflection profiling in lakes; however, the nature of the lake-bottom sediments largely controls the quality of the seismic data. In lakes with significant organic-rich bottom deposits, interpretable record was limited to areas where organic deposits were minimal. In lakes with clean, sandy bottoms, the seismic-reflection methods were highly successful in obtaining data that can be correlated with sublake subsidence features. These techniques are useful in examining sublake geology and providing a better understanding of how confining units are affected by subsidence in a region where their continuity is of significant importance to local lake hydrology. Although local geologic control around each lake generally corresponds to the regional geologic framework, local deviations from regional geologic trends occur in sublake areas affected by subsidence activity. Each of the four lakes examined represents a unique set of geologic controls and provides some degree of structural evidence of subsidence activity. Sublake geologic structures identified include: (1) marginal lake sediments dipping into bathymetric lows, (2) lateral discontinuity of confining units including sags and breaches, (3) the disruption and reworking of overlying unconsolidated siliciclastic sediments as they subside into the underlying irregular limestone surface, and (4) sublake regions where confining units appear to remain intact and unaffected by nearby subsidence activity. Each lake likely is underlain by several piping features rather than one large subsidence feature.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Sublake geologic structure from high-resolution seismic-reflection data from four sinkhole lakes in the Lake Wales Ridge, central Florida
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 96-224
DOI 10.3133/ofr96224
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description vi, 72 p.
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Lake Wales Ridge
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