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Florida Geological Survey

Florida Geological Survey's Mission:

Collect, interpret and provide objective quality geologic information about Florida.


The Florida Geological Survey is organized into three sections to carry out these functions:

The Administrative and Geological Data Management Section
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The Survey’s Administrative and Geological Data Management Section staff includes the Administrative Assistant to the State Geologist, the Business Manager, an Operations and Management Consultant, the Geological Data Management staff comprised of GIS and data management professionals, and the Survey Librarian. This section is responsible for administration (budget, department and interagency liaison, etc.) and personnel management (travel, leave, benefits, etc.), Gunter Building maintenance and repair, and contract and grant tracking. Section staff work closely with grant administrators in each of the other FGS sections to assure compliance with DEP purchasing, budget, and personnel management guidelines, and assist in budget and timeline tracking of grant projects.

The Geologic Investigations Section
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The Geological Investigations Section of the Florida Geological Survey collects and interprets surface and subsurface geologic data to provide an understanding of Florida's three-dimensional geologic framework. This knowledge is necessary to understand Florida's ecosystems, watersheds, aquifer recharge and protection, and effective environmental remediation. Research conducted by the Geologic Investigations section includes statewide geologic and geomorphic mapping, aquifer-system framework delineation, and research in stratigraphy, paleontology, and coastal geology.   The Geological Investigations Section staff also act as consultants to or co-investigators with other local, state and federal agencies, and function as FGS District Geologists with expertise on the geology of each of the state's five water management districts as well as DEP's regulatory districts.

The Geological Investigations Section is comprised of three program areas. The Geological Mapping and Assessments Program staff conduct detailed statewide geological mapping projects funded by the federal STATEMAP program.  The program assists with in-house GIS geological and hydrogeological mapping projects and maintains the statewide Subsidence Incident Report database. Program staff may provide geological assessment services to other FGS sections and various agencies within DEP.  Other program focus areas include geological hazards, environmental studies, FGS publication production, geological education activities, and public outreach.  The program staff work closely with the Geological and Geotechnical Data Acquisition Program in describing well cores and cuttings from both new wells and older wells archived in the FGS core repository.

The Geological and Geotechnical Data Acquisition Program acquires geological data and samples through auger and core-drilling supporting existing FGS research, such as the statewide mapping program. Several of these coring projects have supported other DEP programs such as the Ambient Groundwater Monitoring program, Florida Parks, and U.S. Geological Survey hydrogeology projects in southwest Florida and the Everglades Ecosystem Restoration. The descriptions are entered into the FGS lithologic database, which presently contains approximately 5,000 entries. Cores, cuttings, lithologic descriptions and geophysical logs are an invaluable asset to the earth science community. This fundamental geologic data supports needs of more than one third of the programs in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Coastal research activities within the section are partially funded by various Federal agencies including the U. S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The coastal studies were initiated in 1991 in recognition of the need for geologic information to further our understanding of coastal processes, resources and fragile coastal ecosystems.  Current projects include offshore sand resource assessments for potential beach renourishment, development of a sand atlas detailing the characteristics of beach sands around the state, and side-scan sonar mapping of near-shore coastal areas. 

The Applied Geoscience Services Section
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The Applied Geoscience Services Section’s responsibilities are to generate, analyze, interpret and disseminate hydrogeological data and information to decision makers at all levels of government, academia, the consulting community and the public at large. Such data is generated through scientific research supported by federal grants and conducted by Section scientists, frequently in collaboration with other scientists in the university system and the private sector with close supervision by the Section’s project managers. This approach continues to produce unbiased, scientific information about Florida’s environment, its water resources and ecosystems. Such information is being put to good use in making land and water use decisions by local and State agencies. Critical to achieving the Section’s objectives is bridging the gap between basic and applied science by directing research to solving real societal problems in such areas as: The dynamics of heavy interaction between ground and surface water, developing predictive models for ground water flow and contaminant transport, evaluating the ecological impacts of sea level rise, determining aquifer vulnerabilities, evaluating the impacts of Aquifer Storage and Recovery, identifying geological formations suitable for carbon sequestration and geothermal energy generation. Basing decision-making and problem-solving on scientific data, will help streamline regulatory processes by eliminating redundancies and un-necessary requirements. This, in turn, can help in creating a better balance between environmental protection on the one hand and job creation and economical well being on the other.

The section is divided into two working programs, Hydrogeology and Geoscience Information.  The Hydrogeology program is actively involved in a number of data acquisition and analysis projects statewide.  The Geoscience Information program includes the Geographic Information System and database management staff as well as the Survey Librarian.


The State of Florida faces serious issues concerning the availability and use of land, water, energy, and mineral resources, and the overall stewardship of the environment. Continuing population growth and associated development consumes natural resources and puts constant pressure on water resources conservation and land-use or planning management schemes. How will we provide an adequate supply of building materials for our infrastructure and other critical resources for the future? How can we stem the tide of land clearance and natural environment alteration as development continues? How can we best prepare for the natural hazards that will continue to occur such as coastal erosion, sinkholes, flood prone areas, swelling clays, mercury or radon accumulation, etc.? How do we respond to endangered species concerns or ecosystem degradation if we don't understand the basic building blocks (namely the solid earth geologic framework) of Florida's environments?

An effective response to these questions and similar concerns depends on continually increasing our knowledge about the solid earth structure, resources, and the fundamental dynamics of the earth systems that continually modify and change our environments. As development pressures increase, the need for detailed quality data becomes more important. The Florida Geological Survey provides scientific information required to address these issues. This information is essential for public and government officials to make informed decisions concerning the wise use of our finite natural resources and for the protection and conservation of our environments. Our standard of living, our state's economic future, indeed, even our national security depends on our knowledge of the earth.

Staff of the FGS are in constant professional contact with many government agencies (federal, state, regional, and local), industry, academia, the consulting community, and the public. In this way, research projects and programs can be designed to provide data and interpretations in a relevant and timely manner. Routinely, other programs within the Department of Environmental Protection are solicited to provide their recommendations and issues of concern to the FGS Director. In addition, the "Florida Geologic Mapping Advisory Committee" meets periodically to provide the FGS input regarding statewide prioritization of geologic mapping needs.

With the above guidance, geologic projects are identified and designed to provide the needed interpretations. Many of these programs are joint efforts with various levels of support from other agencies. Hydrogeologic (mostly aquifer characterization and properties assessments), coastal and near-shore marine geology, environmental geology, basic stratigraphy and lithology correlation's, economic geology and minerals production information, and geologic education projects are the dominant topical areas covered. Other subordinate projects include: selected deep stratigraphy and petrology studies to better understand Florida's oil and gas resources, paleontology and paleoecology studies to assist with the prehistorical understanding of the Florida Platform and ecosystem change dynamics, and the geochemistry of Florida peats found within wetlands.

Another basic program responsibility of the FGS is the maintenance of a well-cuttings, core, and outcrop sample repository. This irreplaceable resource is used by industry, consultants, and government scientists in support of municipal water well placement, well-head protection support, injection well design, aquifer protection and recharge assessment, landfill location and design, infrastructure and building design and siting, land zoning decisions, mineral resource assessments, geologic hazards mitigation, and many other needs when solid earth information is required.


Last updated: May 29, 2012

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