Welcome to the Thirteenth Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst in sunny Carlsbad, New Mexico. This will be the farthest west the Sinkhole Conference, as it is informally known, has met since its inception in 1984. The setting will provide conference participants with a unique opportunity to view karst phenomena such as gypsum cenotes that are uncommon outside the southwestern United States, and world-class caves and karst features that occur (for better or worse) within and adjacent to giant oil fields of the Permian Basin region.
In 2011 the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) assumed responsibility for hosting the Sinkhole Conference series. NCKRI, a non-profit organization dedicated to pure and applied research on caves, karst phenomena, and karst hydrology is well-positioned to assume a leadership role in organizing and hosting the conference. Several of the staff of NCKRI have a long history of participation in past Sinkhole Conferences, and we look forward to supporting and hosting future meetings in other areas of the United States and abroad. The fourteenth conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2015, and discussion has begun on the possibility of an international setting for a future conference.
We wish to dedicate this year’s proceedings volume to the memory of Barry Beck, who died in 2011. Barry initiated the Sinkhole Conference series in 1984 and was instrumental in maintaining the series of meetings over the years through several sponsors. Although his energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed by future conference organizers, we are honored to carry Barry’s legacy into the future.