Hiking the Aucilla Sinks | Geology of the Floridan Aquifer

Hiking the Aucilla Sinks | Geology of the Floridan Aquifer

North Floridians are drawn to the Aucilla Sinks because they’re unlike almost anything else in Florida, and a little mysterious. A trail winds past rocky pools and short streams lined with tall walls of limestone. What we’re seeing is bits and pieces of the Aucilla River. The river runs aboveground to the north and to the south of here, but I wonder- what happened to it in the middle? I wanted to know, so I invited geologist Harley Means for a hike.

We don’t associate Florida with large rocks. What Harley revealed to me, though, is that the Aucilla Sinks are in fact uniquely Floridian. It’s the Florida beneath us, exposed.

Harley is the Assistant State Geologist for the state of Florida. Our state’s geology is almost entirely under us- a large, limestone aquifer that provides our state with abundant water. In our previous adventures with Harley, we’ve gone where groundwater interfaces with the surface. It’s in these places where we can start to visualize the many pathways- big and small- through which water makes its way into our taps, and into our remarkable springs


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Rob Diaz de Villegas is a senior producer for television at WFSU Public Media, covering outdoors and ecology. After years of producing the music program OutLoud, Rob found himself in a salt marsh with a camera, and found a new professional calling as well. That project, the National Science Foundation funded "In the Grass, On the Reef," spawned the award-winning WFSU Ecology Blog. Now in its tenth year, the Ecology Blog recently wrapped its most ambitious endeavor, the EcoCitizen Project.

Rob is married with two young sons, who make a pretty fantastic adventure squad.