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America's Volcanic Past

"Though few people in the United States may actually experience an erupting volcano, the evidence for earlier volcanism is preserved in many rocks of North America. Features seen in volcanic rocks only hours old are also present in ancient volcanic rocks, both at the surface and buried beneath younger deposits." -- Excerpt from: Brantley, 1994
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Map, Location of Florida

Volcanic Highlights and Features:
[NOTE: This list is just a sample of various Florida features or events and is by no means inclusive. All information presented here was gathered from other online websites and each excerpt is attributed back to the original source. Please use those sources in referencing any information on this webpage, and please visit those websites for more information on the Geology of Florida.]

  • Florida
  • Florida Regions
  • Florida's Basement Rocks
  • Florida's Igneous Rocks


Florida's geologic history begins deep beneath its surface where ancient rocks indicate that Florida was once a part of northwest Africa. As ancient supercontinents split apart, collided, and rifted again, a fragment of Africa remained attached to North America. This fragment formed the base for the carbonate buildup which includes the Florida and Bahamas Platforms.

Much of the surface of Florida is covered by sediment (loose mineral particles, such as quartz sand), or sedimentary rocks such as limestone and dolostone. Igneous and metamorphic rocks do not occur naturally at the surface, but are found in deep wells reaching from 3,500 feet to deeper than 18,670 feet below land surface.

Excerpt from: Florida Geological Survey Website, 2001
Florida Regions

The Atlantic Plain:3
The Atlantic Plain is the flattest of the provinces. It stretches over 2,200 miles in length from Cape Cod to the Mexican border and southward another 1000 miles to the Yucatan Peninsula. The Atlantic plain slopes gently seaward from the inland highlands in a series of terraces. This gentle slope continues far into the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, forming the continental shelf. This region was born during the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea in the early Mesozoic Era.


Florida's Basement Rocks

Florida Platform:2
The Florida Platform lies on the south-central part of the North American Plate, extending to the southeast from the North American continent separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean. The Florida Platform, as measured about the 300 foot isopath, spans more than 350 miles at its greatest width and extends southward more than 450 miles at its greatest length. The modern Florida peninsula is the exposed part of the platform and lies predominanly east of the axis of the platform. Most of the State of Florida lies on the Florida Platform; the western panhandle is part of the Gulf Coastal Plain. The basement rocks of the Florida Platform include Precambrian-Cambrian igneous rocks, Ordovician-Devonian Sedimentary rocks, and Triassic-Jurassic volcanic rocks. Florida's igneous and sedimentary foundation separated from what is now the African Plate when the super-continent Pangea rifted apart in the Triassic (pre-Middle Jurassic?) and sutured to the North American craton.

Florida's Igneous Rocks

Florida's Volcanic Rocks:1
Igneous and metamorphic rocks do not occur naturally at the surface, but are found in deep wells reaching from 3,500 feet to deeper than 18,670 feet below land surface.

1) Florida Geological Survey, 2001
2) Scott,, 2001, Text to Accompany the Geologic Map of Florida, Florida Geological Survey Open-File Report 80
3) USGS/NPS Geology in the Parks Website, 2001

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01/28/03, Lyn Topinka