The Geology of Florida 🪨 The Land Beneath My Feet

I have lived in mountain regions almost my entire life. I say “almost” because there was a short time I lived in Oklahoma (roughly nine months) and now I have been in Florida since June of 2020. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a few memories of going up into the mountains to see friends, “go to the snow”, or drive through them to another destination. In Reno I lived on a different side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains closer to Tahoe.


Image is my own of Tumalo Falls in Redmond, OR

When we lived in Oregon I lived on one side of the Cascades, the side up in the high desert that allowed for snow. This was when I really got to experience “mountain living”. We would go up into the mountains to the caves, explore the forest, and cut down our own Christmas Tree during the holiday season. The mountains quickly became a place I could easily get lost in but in a good way.

Now though, living in Florida has given me an entirely different set of geological characteristics to learn and live with. There are no mountains here where I live. The only “mountain” I can think of is the hills where rock quarries are and the “mountain” of the waste management system. To honor this challenge and the land I live on, I wanted to learn more about the geology of Florida, the different geological characteristics, and some natural flora and fauna in my area.

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The Geology of Florida

This took some research honestly because the only thing I really know is that Florida has a lot of sand and sulphur in the water. So what I did was scour the Wikipedia article for information that I didn’t know before. And you know what? I learned a lot! So I will put my sources at the bottom of this post. First, I want to talk about the formation of what is now Florida.

The Peninsula of Florida is a porous plateau of limestone on top of solid rock. The Wikipedia article says that the portion of Florida that you can see right now, the land that is above the ocean, was formed during what is called the Eocene to Oligocene which goes back more than 50 million years. However, animals and plants didn’t start growing on the Florida peninsula until the Miocene period going back 20 million years.

Mountains in Florida

I looked up mountains in Florida on the internet and laughed when I saw the results. Yes, apparently Florida does have mountains, but if you are from somewhere that has a mountain range, you will laugh at these results, too. According to MountainZone.com, Florida has more than ten mountains with some of them even having names. However, the tallest mountain in terms of elevation here in Florida is a whopping 345-ft! It is supposedly the highest point in Florida…a whole 345-ft. Where I lived in Oregon, the tallest mountain was Mt. Hood at a whopping 11,249-ft!

I want to go to this Britton Hill in Florida, the state’s high point, just to say I did it. How funny would it be to exclaim that I climbed the tallest mountain in Florida and didn’t even break a sweat?! It is way too far away for me to justify driving to do that, though, at over a five hour trip. It is in the panhandle of Florida and I am not. Part of me wonders how this “mountain” was formed. In my short time researching I haven’t really found an answer. I guess that’s more digging for another day!


Image is my own of Fort de Soto, FL

Florida Formation

Most of Florida’s bedrock is made of limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, a type of rock formed at or near the Earth’s surface. It is the most common type of rock that you can see on Earth’s surface, though it is only a minor part of the entire crust of the Earth. Something I found interesting is that when all of the continents were together in Pangea, what is now known as Florida was actually closer to what is now known as parts of Africa!

For tens of millions of years, most of Florida was separated from the rest of North America by the Georgia Channel Seaway. Eventually, the water receded and Florida became a visible extension of North America, but with a distinctly different foundation than the rest of the continent. The Suwannee Basin and the Florida-Bahama Blocks that make up the foundation of the Florida peninsula have much more in common with the rocks of northwest Africa than with the bedrock of the rest of North America. My Florida History

Abundant Minerals and Stones

I already knew that sand is an abundant mineral here in Florida but I knew there had to be more. For this section of my limited research I went to the website for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. On that website they have a whole list of abundant minerals and stones that are present here in the state of Florida. I want to detail a few of them here for everyone else.

Common types of rocks in Florida include sand, gravel (frequently composed of different types of quartz), different types of clay, peat, limestone, sandstone, coquina, agate, chert, and silicified wood. Now some of these I am familair with. However, there are three here that caught my attention.


Image is of a wall in New Smyrna Beach, FL, of coquina in the wall.
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According to the website, Coquina is “a type of limestone made up almost entirely of cemented shell fragments.” And you know what? I learned that there is an entire fort in St. Augustine that is made entirely from coquina! Apparently the Spanish, when settling in Florida, tried building things out of wood first. Of course, it was abundant, but the termites here wouldn’t let it last very long. So instead they decided to build their fort out of this shell-infused limestone. And guess what? It worked!

In 1702, Governor James Moore of Charleston led his English forces against St. Augustine and the Castillo. He captured the town and set his cannon up amongst the houses to bombard the fortress. But a strange thing happened. Instead of shattering, the coquina stone merely compressed and absorbed the shock of the hit. The cannon balls just bounced off or sunk in a few inches. The shell rock worked! National Park Service

I haven’t seen any coquina here myself but I’m sure I’ll find some eventually.

The second one that caught my attention was silicified wood. I have heard of petrified wood before but this? This was entirely new to me. Apparently silicified wood is when “the original wood has been replaced by silica (SiO2) in solution or more rarely by clay minerals. Often the fine details of the original tree bark are preserved.” So silicified wood is another form of fossil that may better preserve the details of the tree. Again, I have yet to see any of this here myself but I’m sure if I live here long enough I’ll see some eventually.


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As for minerals, these are also abundant! The same website above lists the following minerals as being abundant or present here in Florida.

  • Anhydrite

  • Aragonite

  • Calcite

  • Dolomite

  • Fluorapatite

  • Gypsum

  • Illmenite

  • Monazite

  • Pyrite

  • Quartz

  • Rutile

  • Staurolite

  • Zircon

It doesn’t tell me exactly where I can find them but now that I know they’re here, I know what to look for!


Overall, I’m sure this is not going to be the last time I look up the geological information for my state. Where I grew up in California, we knew a lot more about the geology because we were taught in school. I lived close enough to the San Andreas fault that I could drive there in less than an hour. In one of my college geology courses we actually took a field trip to the San Andreas fault to learn about it more and see it for ourselves. I wish I had a picture from that time but if I didn’t know what I was looking at I never would have known it was there. I’m the type of nerdy person who will happily tell you that I’ve stood with one foot on each side of the San Andreas fault and lived to tell about it!

Image of the San Andreas Fault in Santa Barbara. Used with permission from Wikimedia Commons. This image has been cropped and it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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Honestly it isn’t even a line in the ground so it isn’t that fancy or scary but it’s still cool to think about! Now here in Florida I get to learn more about the limestone, sand, and bedrock that my house is built on. I also need to learn more about the parts of Florida that were covered during the last period of global climate change when all of Florida was underwater! In any case, I know we do not have mountain ranges here in Florida but it is pretty neat to say that the piece of land I live on now was once part of what is now Africa. It’s so crazy to me to think about those type of things from so long ago but here we are!

All my links and things!


My entry for → :mountain_snow: Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - Land Beneath Our Feet

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The water fall is beautiful!

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It is! That’s one thing I miss about living in Oregon. There were so many waterfalls, hiking trails, and rivers to explore. I don’t have that here in Florida anymore :cry: I’m sure with some exploring, and the longer I live here, I’ll find some things to do that are like that. It’s also hard because half the things in Florida waters can kill you or hurt you :rofl: but I do miss the waterfalls!

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I would love to visit Oregan someday. I would love to visit Florida someday. I have so many places on my bucket list. Lol! I havent even been to West Texas!

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I mean, to be fair, Texas very well could be its own country because it’s so massive :laughing:

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True, Florida ia closer to me than El Paso!

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I learned a lot! You’d think that I’d know more because most of my family moved there in 2003. My father is still there, but my brother has since been transferred to another part of the country. Thinking about it though, it is a totally different makeup than anywhere in the US that I have lived. In all fairness, the states I have been to are as far out as TX, the Dakotas… that area. I think I’m going to look into the mountain too, all the ranges I’ve been to, that’s a bump during a hike :rofl:

Thank you for such a great entry! :revolving_hearts:

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@MeganB
Gee, and here I was thinking that the speed bumps were Florida’s mountains. All kidding aside, what wonderful pics and information.
Garnet :mountain:

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What a great way to take on this challenge- bravo, @MeganB! :partying_face: And bonus points for those gorgeous pictures. They are really beautiful- you are quite the photographer! :heart::blush:

So many! :heart_eyes:

Have you ever looked into any Florida mines/geology sites? I’m afraid I don’t know of any in Florida, but in NE there are locations where visitors can come learn about the local stones and even try to find some for themselves :wink: I went to a few as a kid and had a blast- they make a great (and educational!) day trip! :gem:


Thanks so much for this awesome entry- I’ve only been to FL a handful of times, but the focus was always on family. And to be honest, I didn’t do much exploring because I’m a weak New Englander and I’m scared of the wildlife down there :crocodile: :joy:

It was awesome to learn more about the geology of the region! Thank you, Megan! :raised_hands: :two_hearts:

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Hmmmmm… :thinking: I need to look more into this… I only knew of Herkimer, NY. The mica & garnet in NH I knew from my mother & stepfather living across the street from the base of a mountain, so I would find them every once in a while :laughing: Ooooo… shiny & pretty colors! I’m so distractable… no wonder my kids have ADD. :rofl:

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I’ve always wanted to go to the Herkimer Diamond Mines! Still haven’t made it there yet- someday! :blush:

We went to the Garnet Mines near Lake George once and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing to get the bag of dirt from the gift store, go over to the little water bubbler shifting display, and “discover” the garnets :star_struck:

I don’t know of any other public/tourist mines in NE off the top of my head, but there are plenty of rock/crystal hunting sites you can visit: there’s a list at Massachusetts Rockhounding. I’m sure every state has their own collection of rocks and crystals to find too!

A quick search showed some good news for those in Florida:

Florida is an exciting state for rockhounding, highlighted by unique specimens and a wide distribution of prospective rockhounding sites. The geology of the state is characterized by very flat coastal plains in the south and rolling hills to the north.

From Florida Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Could be another fun and exciting way to experience the geology of Florida! :gem::sparkles::star_struck:

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I mean, sometimes those speedbumps are pretty freakin’ high! You’re not wrong :laughing:

Aww thank you :heart: I’ve never looked into mines here in Florida but I will now! One thing I learned in doing all of the research for this post was that there’s a place here in my area called…Bone Valley! Contrary to the way it sounds, it’s actually a mine for phosphate to use for agricultural fertilizer.

And you’d do just fine with the Florida wildlife! The only irritating thing is the mosquitos :laughing: the gators will leave you alone as long as you leave them alone.

Ohh thanks for this! I’ll have to look at them!

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Thank you @TheTravelWitch_Bry! I will definitely check that out… weekend getaway someday? I think so.

@MeganB the kissing bugs can be quite the PIA too! :laughing: my son & I visited one year when they were out… Goodness! Frisky little things they are :rofl:

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Ohh yeah, the Love Bugs? They’re harmless but really freakin’ annoying. They get everywhere!

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Yes! Those ones :joy: My father called them love bugs, my son said kissing bugs & it stuck with me. That was the same day my son decided to hug a small palm tree :palm_tree: & immediately regretted his decision. I mean, I told him not to, it wasn’t like the trees we have :laughing:

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Noooo! Definitely don’t hug the trees here :laughing: that’s a great way to get a one-way ticket to being covered in bugs lol

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WOW! This is really interesting! Great research @MeganB
I recently moved to the Mount Dora area in Florida from super flat South Miami. I also get a kick out of the name “Mount” Dora lol. I will admit, it is taking me a minute to adjust my body to the central Florida hills. I could only imagine if Florida has mountains! :laughing:

Also super cool was reading what you found about silicified wood. I’ve never heard of that!

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Ohhhh spooky! :bone:

That sounds like a place with a story behind the name :joy:

That would be a fun weekend adventure for sure! :gem::blush:

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I’ve never heard of this place. I’m gonna look it up! But I definitely agree that anything named “Mount” in Florida is absolutely hilarious :joy: I want to find a piece of silicified wood, too. I think that would be really cool to have!

So far I think it’s called Bone Valley because the phosphate and stuff that they’re mining comes from fossilized animals? But they also have a fossil area where you can go dig for fossils and shark teeth. It sounds like a fun thing to do but I’m not paying $214 to go do it :sweat_smile:

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That makes sense about why it’s called Bone Valley! I guess I’ve read too many of those crazy wild stories about Florida in the news (like the Florida Man meme) and was expecting something wacky or extreme behind the name :laughing:

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$214 for fossils and shark teeth, and you have to do all the work of finding them yourself!?! What a business model :joy:

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