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A Giant Sediment Trap in the Florida Keys

Model of expected depositional history

Model of expected depositional history (not to scale). (A) Sinkhole as it might have appeared with sea level 100 m or more below present level at ~15 ka. (B) Sinkhole after invasion of fresh water in response to sea-level rise. A shallow lake and accumulation of calcite mud occupy bottom of sinkhole. (C) Sinkhole after continued sea-level rise. (D) Sinkhole after sea level has reached level high enough to create brackish-water conditions. (E) Initial flooding of sinkhole about 6 ka and introduction of marine carbonate mud. (F) Sinkhole as it appears to day, filled and capped with carbonate sand derived from bordering coral accumulations.

Figure A
Sinkhole as it might have appeared with sea level 100 m or more below present level at ~15 ka.
Figure B
Sinkhole after invasion of fresh water in response to sea-level rise. A shallow lake and accumulation of calcite mud occupy bottom of sinkhole.
Figure C
Sinkhole after continued sea-level rise.
Figure D
Sinkhole after sea level has reached level high enough to create brackish-water conditions.
Figure E
Initial flooding of sinkhole about 6 ka and introduction of marine carbonate mud.
Figure F
Sinkhole as it appears to day, filled and capped with carbonate sand derived from bordering coral accumulations.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
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Updated: 21 April, 1998@03:19:58 PM (THF)