After a long fight with cancer, I’m sorry to report that our friend and world-renowned speleologist and geologist, Alexander Klimchouk, died the evening of 11-12 May 2023.
Klim, as we knew him, had 40 years of karst research in hydrogeology and geomorphology, speleogenesis, hypogene speleogenesis, gypsum karst, epikarst, high mountain karst, subsidence hazard and land use in karst terrains. He was considered one of the world authorities on hypogene karst speleogenesis and morphology. He accumulated over 300 scientific publications in the field of karstology and speleology published in national and international journals, books and conference proceedings. Klim's body of work includes 14 authored and edited books and over 60 papers in international peer-reviewed journals.
The following is taken verbatim from his bio on Loop.
Alexander Klimchouk, PhD, Dr.Sci. (Hydrogeology) is the Leading Scientist at the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. His research interests are focused on karst hydrogeology and geomorphology, speleogenesis, hydrogeology of deep-seated formations, hypogene karst, and evolution of karst in the context of the geological history. Authored more than 300 scientific papers and books on various aspects of karst and cave science, edited several major international books. He is an active cave explorer with almost 50 years of experience. Most of his research and cave exploration was done in various regions of the former Soviet Union (Western Ukraine, Crimea, Central Asia, Caucasus and the Russian North), but also in Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the USA, and other countries. He was the initiator (in 1980), and during many years - the leader, of deep cave explorations in the Arabika Massif in the Western Caucasus resulted in the establishment of the Krubera Cave as the deepest cave in the world (2001) and the first cave in the world deeper than 2,000 m (2004). In the past, he served as a President of Kyiv Speleological Club and Vice-President of the Natl. Association of Soviet Speleologists. A founder (in 1991) and past-President of the Ukrainian Speleological Association (1992-1998; 2003-2005). A founder (in 2006) and a Director (in 2006-2014) of the Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology. Served on the Bureau of the International Union of Speleology (UIS) in 1992-2013, as a UIS Vice-President in 2001-2009. In 1994-2017 he served as President of the UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis. Honorary Member of the National Speleological Society (USA) and the Ukrainian Speleological Association, corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and Deputy-Head of Ukraine’s National Council for the Development of Science and Technologies.
More of his publications and activities can be found on Klim's page in ResearchGate.
David Craig provided this recollection in his 25 September 2015 blog entry in the Footless Crow, Ukranian Overlords of the Underworld. IN it, David Craig relays Klim's home at the time, his fondness of fishing for catfish by torchlight, and how Klim's wife, Natalia, took their children and grandchildren into caves from the age of 4, particularly the gypsum caves of Moldova. It was a wonderful gem to stumble on as I looked for images to use in this article.
The international knowledge of speleology is richer for Klim's lifelong contributions and poorer for his leaving us.
Rest in light, Klim. I hope you are caving, climbing, and fishing with the same pure enthusiasm and abandon now that you did in this world.