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Thread: INC. PRODUCTION OF ECON. VAL. LIMESTONE THRU PALEO INTERP.

  1. #1 INC. PRODUCTION OF ECON. VAL. LIMESTONE THRU PALEO INTERP. 
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    Increasing production of economically valuable limestone through paleontological interpretation of the fossil Record. (1996).


    Ralph Cavallo, Anthony Cinelli - Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

    Abstract:



    The researchers hypothesize that the subject quarry may be able to increase it's

    output of economically valuable limestone by mining to a slightly greater depth. The

    data will indicate topographic relief which is not visible at the surface but readily

    apparent in the sedimentary environment in which the strata were deposited. The

    researchers believe a biological reef deposit lies below what is now the base of the

    quarry. This would provide a large amount of quality aggregate.


    Key Words:


    Bermont, Caloosahatchee, Gastropod, Lake Okeelanta, Molluscan, Nifo, Okeechobeean.


    Geological Overview:


    The GKK quarry is located in central Palm Beach county. GKK produces sand,

    concrete aggregate, roadfill, and clean fill for a variety of uses and consumers. There

    are twenty distinct layers from the top to the bottom of the Quarry. To distinquish the

    Units found in the quarry, the term Palm Beach Unit will be used for the purpose of this

    paper. The Units are abbreviated as ' PB Unit' or 'PBU'. The .1m of top soil (PB Unit 1)

    is scraped from the surface exposing 2-3 m of white sand. This sand is approximately

    70% silica (PB Unit 2). Beneath the sand is a layer of clay sized particles that appears

    to have been weathered from the limestone immediately below it ( PB Unit 3). This

    .1m thick layer has produced the few large mammalian fossils that have been

    recovered. The bones have been leached and are atypical of the density one would

    exspect from bones that have been replaced by mineral processes. The lower portion

    of the bones were encased in the .6m thick, underlying, massive, and sandy micritic

    limestone (PB Unit 4). This micritic limestone grades rapidly into a Fort Thompson

    molluscan faunal assemblege which is loosely consolidated. Palm Beach Unit Five

    (PB Unit 5) is similar to Unit 4, beginning with a consolidated layer and grading into

    less consolidated shells. The Unit is 5m thick, beginning with a solid layer of bivalves

    which are comprised mostly of the Genus Chione. Then, the Unit grades into a .9m

    thick loosely consolidatedand more diverse Bermont molluscan fauna (PB Unit 6).

    Unit seven (PB Unit 7) is a massive micritic limestone .1m thick. Unit eight (PB Unit 8)

    is a .3m thick lime mud with shell fragments. Unit nine (PB Unit 9) is .2m thick and

    resembles Unit 6. Rose coral and back reef fauna typify Unit 10 (PB Unit 10).

    Molluscan shell material make up the loosely consolidated bioclasts of the .4m thick

    Unit Eleven (PB Unit 11). The next strata is .4m thick massive lime mud (PB Unit 12).

    Palm Beach Unit Thirteen (PB Unit 13) is a layer 1.8m thick consisting primarily of

    bivalves and gastropods. Unit Fourteen (PB Unit 14) is a layer .2m deep that is nearly

    solid and consisting of Chione clams. The Lake Okeelanta (Petuch,1988) Unit (PB

    Unit 15) is a layer which varies from .1m thick in the western wall to nearly pinching out

    and becoming impoverished on the eastern wall. Brian Schnirel in the early to mid

    1990's researched and mapped out the stratigraphy of the Palm Beach Rock Quarry

    which is now closed. This quarry was only 1 mile to the east of the GKK quarry.

    Absolutely no evidence of Lucustrine marls or associated fossils were ever found giving

    credence to the eastern shore of Lake Okeelanta existing at the eastern portion of

    GKK. Additional evidence of land fauna at higher levels of the Palm Beach rock quarry

    material gives evidence of infilling. A chain of islands (Petuch,1992) existed along

    the east coast of Florida bordering either the Okeechobean Sea (Petuch, 1986) or Lake

    Okeelanta depending on glacial eustatics. The infilling to the east of GKK gave rise to

    the island named Loxahatchee Island (Cavallo, Cinelli 1996) in honor of the township it

    lies near. The freshwater Lucustrine and terrestrial fauna of Unit Fifteen is comprised

    of species of the Genus: Pomacidae and Seminolina. Occasionally, a mangrove root

    is found. The Seminolina assemblage consists almost exclusively of planorbid

    forms and no sclariform species. Brian Schnirel, following research by Dr. Ed Petuch, has researched this species

    and material from deep water formations many miles to the west along Route 27

    near South Bay, Florida. In his research of deeper lucustrine layers, the reverse

    is true. Sclariform species not only predominate, but quite elongated. Planorbids

    can be found but usually comprise of a single species: Seminolina zyggorat (Petuch,

    Schnirel 1995) which seems to occupy a niche in deeper water that other planorbids

    find difficult to adapt to. In the deeper areas of Lake Okeelanta, the calcarious marls

    vary from a tan to dark chocolate brown. Fossils within these marls can be extremely

    numerous and generally comprise about 70% of the matrix. In the eastern shoreline

    environment near Loxahatchee Island, the GKK lucustrine material is nearly a 100%

    fossil conglomerate. This is due to the combination of the prolific nature of the

    planorbids, wave action carrying dead individuals for depositon along the shore,

    and little deposition of sedimentation being a near shore environment. The wave

    action of this enormous lake does not seem to be overly strong however. This is

    based on the lack of a Thanatocoenosis of the GKK fossil material. Below the base of

    BPU 15, the last of the gastropod genus Pyrazisinus to creep in the mud are found.

    This previously undescribed species of Pyrazisinus is an indicator of brackish water and

    shallow muddy bottom environment that ended as PBU 16 gave way to PBU 15. This

    environment changed to a freshwater environment as a result of a drop in sea level due

    to a glacial episode. Below PBU 15 is a .3m deep layer cocsisting of typical loosely

    consolidated Bermont bioclasts (PB Unit 16). Below this layer (PB Unit 17) contains

    .3m of consolidated bioclasts primarily of Chione clams. In the quarry, the employees

    of GKK call the material out of next unit (PB Unit 18) "shit rock". It consists of

    semiconsolidated mudstone. The color ranges from black to brown, the rock is hard

    and fractures when struck. However, when it is crushed and washed, it disintegrates.

    The fabric of the rock is an organically rich mud with a few marine gastropods within

    the layer. Below this, is a layer of Chione clams .2m thick (PB Unit 19). Lower still

    (PB Unit 20) is .3m of the infamous "shit rock". At the bottom of PBU 20 is a layer

    (PB Unit 21) of marine bioclasts including fossils indicative of the top of the

    Caloosahatchee fauna.



    Mining Operations:


    The land purchased for the intention of mining limestone was first surveyed by one

    of the owners, James A. Comyns (M.S. Civil Engineering). Based on his findings,

    equipment was brought in to take several hundred core samples from all over the

    property. Samples were sent to laboratories to determine the chemical content of the

    limestone and Los Angeles abrasion of the sand. To determine the continuity of the

    strata across the property, a radiation permit was secured and gamma log testing was

    performed. The testing indicated contiguous layers of rock. Subsequently, a crushing

    plant was built, drainage canals were dug, and the topsoil wa scraped away. The thick

    layer of quartz sand was mined for a variety of uses. Once the overburden is removed,

    a portable tracked drilling rig is used to drill to 6m depth using a compressed air slurry.

    The holes vary in number from 30 to nearly 300 depending on the need for rock. They

    are filled with a 'Nifo' (Nitrogen and Fuel Oil). (This mixture is similar to the compound

    used in the Oklahoma city federal building bombing.) In addition, the holes are filled

    with foam and detonator. The explosive filled holes are detonated simultaneously.

    This produces a large zone of rock that is fractured enough to allow the large earth

    moving equipment to remove it for processing. The rock is taken to the processing

    plant where the rock is crushed, washed, and sorted by size. The sorting of size is

    based on the ultimate use of the stone. Once the rock fractured by the blasting has

    been removed, what is now the floor of the quarry is blasted. Contained in this layer

    of fractured rock are the two layers of "shit rock". A washing process is not used on

    this rock as it maintains it's hardness best when dry. This rock is used as base fill for

    roads primarily. The edges of the pit are dug to a slightly greater depth, creating a

    drainage canal. The water is removed from the bottom of the pit by several diesel/

    hydraulic pumps with 12 inch discharge pipes into drainage canals that run the length

    of the property. Water for the processing plant is obtained exclusively from this drained

    water. The discharge from the plant flows into an abandoned pit where it is slowly

    being filled in with clay sized particles. This pit being filled with water is adjacent to a

    working pit. The hydrodynamic head forces water through the rock. The forced water

    separates the pits where it is filtered naturally and recycled as it flows into the catch

    canal at the bottom of the pit. Any excess water is released to the surrounding

    agricultural area or to the West Palm Beach canal. Occasionally, isolated pockets

    of connate water are struck, this saline water is circulated around the quarry until it

    is diluted to environmentally acceptable levels.


    Increasing output through Paleontology:


    THE QUARRY IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS IN THE AREA IN THAT THE

    SAND IS PLENTIFUL, AND THE QUALITY OF THE AGGREGATE IS HIGH.

    THE OWNERS WERE FORCED TO BUILD A TEST ROAD BED BY THE

    FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION BECAUSE THEY WERE

    INCREDULOUS EVEN TO LABORATORY REPORTS. THIS BEGGED THE

    QUESTION: "WHY IS THIS HERE?". THE ANSWER BECOMES APPARENT

    WHEN WE CONSIDER THE DATA. (SPEAKING OF ROADS, SINCE AT

    LEAST SOME OF THE OWNERS WERE BRITISH, THE MAIN ROADS INTO

    GKK WERE DRIVEN IN ENGLISH FASHION. THAT IS, ON THE LEFT SIDE

    OF THE ROAD. THE EAST SIDE OF THE ROADS ALWAYS WERE IN THE

    WORST SHAPE WITH MAJOR RUTS AS THE TRUCKS LEAVING ON THE

    LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD WERE CARRYING HEAVY LOADS OF FILL.) THE

    FAUNAL TYPES PRESENT ARE GENERALLY MEDIUM TO SHALLOW DEPTH

    ORGANISMS. THE FLORA MOST OFTEN FOUND IN THE FOSSIL RECORD

    HERE ARE MANGROVES. THE LAKE OKEELANTA FORMATION GRADUALLY

    PINCHES OUT FRON WEST TO EAST. THAT DATA, COMBINED WITH THE

    FAIRLY ABUNDANT MAMMALIAN FOSSILS HAS LED THE RESEARCHERS TO

    CONCLUDE THAT A PALEOISLAND EXISTED FROM THE AFTONIAN TO

    SANGAMONIAN STAGE. THE RESEARCHERS THEORIZE THAT THE

    UNDERLYING ROCK ON WHICH THE ISLAND GREW CONSISTS OF A

    BIOLOGICAL REEF OF CALABRIAN AND PIACENZIAN AGE. IF THIS THE

    CASE, THE AMOUNT AND QUALITY OF ECONOMICALLY VALUABLE

    LIMESTONE SHOULD MEET OR EXCEED THAT WHICH HAS BEEN MINED

    FROM THE BERMONT LAYERS. THE MODERN TOPOGRAPHY, ESPECIALLY

    OF THE CANALS WHICH WERE DUG TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE

    NATURAL LOW RELIEF, DEMONSTRATES THAT THE AREAS OF PALM

    BEACH COUNTY THAT PRODUCE QUALITY STONE ARE FOUND IN

    CONJUNCTION WITH THESE AREAS. THE NATURAL PLEISTOCENE INLETS

    WHICH FED THE OKEECHOBEAN SEA BROUGHT IN NUTRIENT, RICH,

    WARM, CLEAN WATER THAT ACCELERATED REEF GROWTH. AT TIME OF

    LOWER EUSTATIC LEVELS, THE REEFS BECAME ISLANDS SIMILAR IN

    FAUNAL TYPE TO THE FLORIDA KEYS. THIS BEING THE CASE, AN EVEN

    MORE SUBSTANTIAL LAYER OF CARBONATES WAITS JUST BELOW THE

    FLOOR OF THE QUARRY. TIME HOWEVER, FOR ANY QUARRY IN SOUTH

    FLORIDA IS LIMITED. THE GREAT PUSH BY DEVELOPERS AND

    POLITICIANS TO DEVELOP ANY ACCESSIBLE LAND USUALLY RESULTS TO

    QUICK ZONING CHANGES TO RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERICAL. mORE

    LIKELY THAN NOT, INSTEAD OF EXPLORATION OF THE DEEPER LAYERS,

    THE GKK SITE WILL MOST LIKELY BECOME A ZERO LOT LINE HOUSING

    COMMUNITY.


    REFERENCES:


    CAVALLO, RALPH PERSONAL RESEARCH

    CINELLI, ANTHONY PERSONAL RESEARCH

    PETUCH, EDWARD ATLAS OF FLORIDA FOSSIL SHELLS. (1994)
    CHICAGO SPECTRUM PRESS. EVANSTON,
    ILLINOIS, U.S.A. 394 PP.

    EDGE OF THE FOSSIL SEA. (1992) BAILEY
    MATTHEWS SHELL MUSEAUM. 80 PP.

    PERSONAL COMMUNICATION.

    SCHNIREL, BRIAN PERSONAL COMMUNICATION.


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  3. #2  
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    how long did that take to write?


    I don't suffer from insanity, i enjoy every minute of it

    the road to succes is never paved or clearly marked
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  4. #3 How Long? 
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    Hello,

    This was the culmination of many years of research by all parties.

    The Palm Palm Beach Rock quarry site mentioned in the report was

    investigated by myself alone. I had carte blanche in accessing that

    quarry by the property owners. I conducted a complete stratographic

    assessment of the area and collected many samples, including a

    hystravasum that was used as a holotype for a new species by Edward

    Petuch. All the stratographic records and boxes of sample material were

    placed in the "T" buildings (these buildings were part of a military base in

    WW2 along an airfield before converted to scientific research centers) at

    Florida Atlantic Unversity. Unfortunately, a facility member who had no

    knowledge of the value of the material, tossed it away to make room for

    an engineering center. As mentioned by the authors, no Lake Okeelanta

    material was found at that site which establishes the eastern shoreline of

    that paleolake.

    Brian L. Schnirel
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