UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis

 International Conference on Karst Hydrogeology and Ecosystems (Karst-2011) has been held at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY, USA in June 8-10, preceded by the field trip along the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau Escarpment in Kentucky and Tennessee in June 4-7.

The Conference was hosted by the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute, co-organized by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI), and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH). Attended by around 90 karst scholars from 16 nations, the Conference was a great success, with its rich scientific program (44 papers presented in 6 sessions) and international karst cooperation agenda. The latter included business meetings of the three major karst/related organizations: IAH Karst Commission, UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis, the newly approved UNESCO/IUGS IGCP Project 598 "Environmental Change and Sustainability in Karst Systems: Relations to Climate Change and Anthropogenic Activities", and International Karst Cooperation Panel Discussion.

Our Commission meeting on June 8 had been attended by ca. 30 colleagues, including those representing partner organizations. The following items have been discussed:

1) Recent developments with the Speleogenesis website.  

The Journal “Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers” is back on track after being in the dormant mode during last four years...

  • New Journal concept: merging the journal with the online bibliography database (KarstBase); One-stop place for current titles/publications in the field;
  • Issue 10, 2011 is online (January-June); Issue 11, 2011 in preparation (July-December)
  • New Journal (website) design, new technical platform, easy and quick management and publishing.
  • “Featured Articles” – an effective way to highlight selected current publications from karst/cave journals and other geoscience journals, pertinent to the field of speleogenesis and karst hydrogeology. (Titles-abstracts-links to publications).

The Speleogenesis Portal has been re-designed.

E-Books section established (the collection of open-access monographs and proceedings)

Further efforts on the website:

  • Re-designing the Speleogenesis Network part to match the new site template and improve functionality (particularly for project management)
  • Developing new interface for KarstBase – the karst bibliography system, with a subsystem for karst/cave journals ("World Karst/Cave Journals");
  • Improving distributed bibliography submission system (making it more simple and user-friendly); creating special tools for editors of karst/cave journals to update and manage their contents in the KarstBase.

Everyone agreed that the Speleogenesis website is an indispensable tool for maintaining the KHS Commission activity and, more general, for promoting international karst cooperation. It was suggested that other partner karst organizations would make more extensive use of the functionality of this site (particularly its registration/mailing system, bibliography services, etc.) for their own activities. Furthermore, it was agreed will Dr.Nico Goldscheider and Dr. Neven Kresic that the Speleogenesis website will soon be jointly operated by the UIS KHS Commission and IAH Karst Commissions.

2) Merging of the UIS Working group on Hydrothermal Karst with the UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis

Hydrothermal karst is now recognized to be a variant of a broader speleogenetic family of hypogene karst, so that it ought to be approached from this common genetic ground. It is therefore suggested (Dr. Yu. Dublyansky and Dr.A.Klimchouk) that the UIS Working Group on Hydrothermal Karst merges with the UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis.

Further efforts to foster studies on hydrothermal karst will be continued within the recently launched HypoKarst Project of the KHS Commission.

3) HypoKarst Project ("Hypogene Karst & Speleogenesis: Nature, Processes, Mechanisms, Manifestations and Applications“).

The HypoKarst Project has been recently launched by the Commission, with the goal to advance our understanding of solution conduit and void development in those parts of the sedimentary cover that lie below the domain of shallow unconfined groundwater flow systems.

The main project objectives are as follows:

  • Identify and develop common international science Subject Areas to ensure that important scientific questions in studying hypogene karst are addressed in a coherent manner; to promote researches in the identified areas.
  • Facilitate and strengthen international scientific cooperation in hypogene karst studies; promote interaction between karst researchers and other geoscience scholars and industry specialists in hypogene karst studies and applications.
  • Channel and disseminate information and research outcomes relevant to hypogene karst.

The project co-ordinators are Dr. Yu.Dublyansky (Innsbruck Univ., Austria) and Dr. Alexander Klimchouk (UISK, Ukraine). The third co-ordinator is to be assigned soon.

More details about the HypoKarst project can be found here.

Lists of interested researchers and groups on the above mentioned page is growing, following the feedback received after the initial announcement.

Various functionalities will be added soon to the HypoKarst page, including registration with the project, hypokarst bibliography search, project forum and news, etc.

4) Future meetings

There was a disscussion of possible future meetings under the KHS Commission auspices, both thematic and general.

Regarding thematic meetings, there is a desire to continue the line of hypogene karst events, established by the 2008 GSA Convention Session in Houston (sponsored by NCKRI) and 2009 Conference in Ukraine (co-organized by UISK and NCKRI). Future meetings of this line are seen as small-to-medium size symposia, focused on specific aspects of HypoKarst studies and merged with field trips that could highlight particular examples and faces of hypogene karst.

The following possible places and time slots are on the tentative list for HypoKarst symposia (subject to specific confirmation):

  • 2012 Ocrober, Crimea, Ukraine (UISK-NCKRI); to be confirmed or abolished by this September;
  • 2013 February or 2014, Bahamas (Dr. John Mylroye)
  • 2015, Carlsbad, NM, USA (NCKRI)

Among more general events, the KHS Commission is to sponsor the "Speleogenesis, Karst Hydrogeology and Evolution" symposium at the 16th International Speleological Congress, Czech Republic, July 2013.

Any ideas, comments and suggestions regarding these and other possible meetings are welcome. The UIS KHS Commission is open for suggestions to co-sponsor any other scientific meetings on karst evolution, hydrogeology, geomorphology and speleogenesis.

5) Support for the Speleogenesis website

The Speleogenesis website is rapidly growing in its size, complexity, and significance for the entire karst community. To secure its sustainable and dynamic development in the future, we need to find means to compensate, at least in part, for the work of the webmaster (Alexey Kopchinskiy from Vienna). The amount of ca. $2500-$3000 a year would solve the problem. The IAH Karst Commission (Dr.Nico Goldscheider and Dr. Neven Kresic) suggested that their Commission would help in finding sponsors for this particular issue.

Also, the KHS Commission should seek for sponsors, and activate find-rising efforts, to support its projects and events. Any ideas and suggestions regarding this issue would be much appreciated.

The UIS KHS Commission representatives took part in the business meetings of other parther organizations, and in the International Karst Cooperation Panel Discussion convened during the Conference. We are happy to see the growing collaboration of our Commission with the IAH Karst Commission and the UNESCO/IUGS IGCP Project 598, and we are looking forward to work on implementation of all disscussed plans and ideas.

The UIS KHS Commission congratulates Dr. Chris Groves and his excellent team at the Hoffman Environmental Institute with the success of the Karst-2011 Conference and thanks to them for the perfect organization and hospitality.

Alexander Klimchouk,
UIS KHS Commission President