DEP Designates Wakulla Springs State Park as State Geological Site

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

DEP Designates Wakulla Springs State Park
as State Geological Site  

~Designated State Geological Sites showcase the geological history of Florida~

FGS Designation

From left to right: Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper; Wakulla Springs State Park Manager Amy Conyers; Florida Representative Loranne Ausley; and Florida State Geologist and Florida Geological Survey Director Dr. Jon Arthur.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection today designated Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park as the newest State Geological Site. Designated State Geological Sites are areas that DEP's Florida Geological Survey has determined to be significant to the preservation, scientific study and public understanding of geological history and resources in Florida. Additionally, designated Geological Sites provide opportunities to experience and learn about a site's geological features, its connection to the local ecosystem, and significance in past and present culture. 

"Florida State Parks have always been recognized for their vast recreational opportunities, and it's because of Florida's unique geology that we can enjoy these iconic areas," said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. "We are proud to celebrate the designation of Wakulla Springs as Florida's newest State Geological Site."

Following the ceremony, attendees joined State Geologist Dr. Jon Arthur for a virtual tour of geologic features within the park. The presentation provided a look at Kitchen Sinks, Wakulla Springs and Cherokee Sink. 

“Florida’s natural environment provides excellent opportunities to experience important geological features including springs, caves, and exposures of rocks and fossils that tell the fascinating story of Florida’s geological history, which is intertwined with human history," said Florida State Geologist and Florida Geological Survey Director Dr. Jon Arthur. "Designation of State Geological Sites highlights a select few of these as valuable resources and the best examples of their kind in the state.”

"It was great to join Dr.Arthur and experience these springs and sinkholes through the eyes of a geologist. Because of this designation, more people can appreciate geology's impact on the places where we swim, walk and enjoy the outdoors," said Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper. "Future State Geological Site Designations will create even more opportunities to learn about Florida's incredible geological history."

Wakulla Springs is located in a region known as the Woodville Karst Plain - an area containing numerous springs, sinkholes and submerged cave systems formed by the dissolving of limestone over thousands to millions of years. The extensive cave system beneath Wakulla Springs extends more than 32 miles and serves as a network of conduits that supply more than 250 million gallons of water per day which discharges from the spring. 

Additionally, overlying the St. Marks Formation is a thin layer of sand and clay deposited between 11,700 to 2.6 million years ago. Most of these sediments are marine deposits left behind during times of high sea level in Florida’s geological past. Where the Wakulla River has exposed these sediments, it is not uncommon to find the fossilized bones of large animals that once lived in Florida. The fossil remains of mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths, camels, bison and saber-tooth tigers have all been found in Wakulla Springs and along the bed of the Wakulla River.

Legislation authorizes the state geologist to designate sites that are of great and continuing significance for the scientific study and understanding of the geological history of Florida. Several sites have been identified, and the state geologist will identify 10 more sites over the next two years. Wakulla Springs State Park is the latest state park to become a designated State Geological Site, joining Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Florida Caverns State Park and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.

Earlier this month, FGS hosted an open house that attracted over 300 people eager to learn about the fascinating history of Florida's geology. The FGS is open and available for tours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., where visitors can learn more about Florida's geology.