The Everglades Karst and Solution Holes Expose Hidden Freshwater Springs

A roadside solution hole between Anhinga Trail and the Nike Missile site in Everglades National Park – ©Jacob Katel. All rights reserved

The Everglades contain an underground maze of tunnels through the limestone with clusters opening along the major sloughs that help transport fresh water from Lake Okeechobee through to the Florida Keys.

The natural Florida landscape is full of sinkholes, caves, and solution holes where the underground waters of the Floridan and Biscayne Aquifers issue forth to surface in bubbling windswept springs; or where rainwater collects in pools that have nowhere to go but up.

It’s all part of what is known as the karst environment, where the natural limestone dissolves where rainwater acidifies as it combines with plant matter to create carbonic acid, slowly eating its way through porous bedrock via chemical reaction.

Sinkholes and solution holes form fresh water pools that provide hidey-holes for various creatures during the months of dry season that form half the year of traditional life in the Everglades as we know them.

©Jacob Katel. all rights reserved

In Everglades National Park, there are many acres of karst separating the Shark River Slough and the Taylor Slough, forming what is known as the Hole In The Donut area.

Until the 1970’s, this area was active farmland. But then the farmers left and the whole zone was eventually taken over by invasive Brazilian Pepper plants and other masses of vegetative life.

Over the past ten years, an intensive razing of this area with heavy metal machinery has exposed the basic geologic reality of this ecosystem, evincing the ancient limestone bedrock, and its various hidden features.

©Jacob Katel. all rights reserved

The purpose of the razing is ecological restoration, and as various animal life such as birds and mammals go about their business, plant and flower seed will spread across the landscape and repopulate it with native plant life. At that point, the solution holes will once again be ensconced in the vegetation that helped make them possible in the first place.

Until that happens, these hidden springs are laid bare for all to see and enjoy the astounding sight of; and these pictures and videos are proof.

Read my new book on this subject. It’s called Hidden Springs Of The Everglades and it’s available on Amazon.

By Jacob Katel

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