* DEP Home * About DEP * Programs * Contact * Site Map * Search *
Physical Characteristics of Mosquito Lagoon Quick Topics

Topography and Geomorphology

Over the millennia, the Mosquito Lagoon basin, like the rest of peninsular Florida, has alternately been covered by seawater and exposed as dry land. This has created areas where marine and terrestrial sediments have been deposited in alternating layers. The barrier island complex, including the Mosquito Lagoon sub-basin, has been formed over an estimated 240,000 years and is the result of multiple changes in sea level.

Aerial of Mosquito Lagoon


The east coast of Florida is formed mainly by eroded relict dune lines and broad marine terraces, as well as the present barrier islands. Behind the barrier islands, is a lagoon system. Following many land forming processes, flat plains emerged as flatlands when the sea level subsided. The lowest terrace in the Mosquito Lagoon watershed is called the Silver Bluff Terrace. As the sea level receded, dune ridges, including the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, formed on this terrace. The Mosquito Lagoon sub-basin extends from Ponce de Leon Inlet in the north to the southernmost extent south of the Haulover Canal. The Mosquito Lagoon drainage basin is bordered by the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, which lies to the west and averages 25 feet above mean sea level and the Atlantic Beach Ridge (barrier islands) on the east.


The Atlantic Coastal Ridge (mainland) is characterized as a sandy ridge, dominated by the Daytona-Satellite-Astatula soil series. This series consists of sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic, uncoated families of soils with predominantly marine origins. The barrier island is dominated by soils of the Palm Beach-Paola-Canaveral series. These soils are carbonitic, hyperthermic families of soils dominated by marine sands and shell fragments.


Water movement within MLAP is characterized by minimal currents, minimal water level changes and low tidal flushing. Tidal flushing and currents within the MLAP are restricted by the numerous islands, shoals and constricting channels that characterize the area. The mean tidal range at Ponce de Leon inlet is 2.3 feet, but average water depths of 4 feet throughout the Mosquito Lagoon limit water exchange and flushing within MLAP. Due to the limited tidal exchange with the Atlantic Ocean and the generally sluggish circulation patterns, Mosquito Lagoon is particularly susceptible to influxes of pollutants and the detrimental effects of those pollutants.









Last updated: April 06, 2015

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
Contact Us 
DEP Home | About DEP  | Contact Us | Search |  Site Map