Karst geology


Earth and Environmental Sciences (2nd level)

Karstology (2nd Cycle)

Course code: MTK01
Year of study: 1st year

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Martin Knez, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 35 hours, seminar 20 hours, tutorial 10 hours, laboratory work 10, field work 20 hours, individual work 130 hours.
Course type: mandatory
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, seminars, tutorial, laboratory work, field work


Course syllabus (download)


First-cycle Bologna degree or a university degree in the natural sciences.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Highly soluble karstic rocks (carbonates and evaporates);
  • Conditionally soluble rocks (quartz sandstone, granite…) and rocks that commonly alternate with karstic rocks;
  • Carbonate diagenesis;
  • Carbonate platforms in time and space;
  • Paleokarst;
  • Impact of different rocks on development of karstic features and landscapes;
  • Tectonic structures and karstic features.



  • FORD, D. C. & WILLIAMS, P., 2007: Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, 562 str. (poglavja/chapters: 1-102, 209-320, 401-440).
  • PALMER, A. N., 2007: Cave Geology. Cave Books, Dayton OH, 454 str. (poglavja/chapters: 21-87, 113-137, 166-191, 232-302, 364-385).
  • GABROVŠEK, F., 2002 (ur.): Evolution of Karst: From Prekarst to Cessation. Založba ZRC, Ljubljana, 448 str. (poglavja/chapters: 235-358).
  • , M. E. & WRIGHT, V. P., 1990: Carbonate sedimetology. Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, 482 str. (poglavja/chapters: 1-100, 314-364).
  • INSALCO, E., SKELTON, P. W. & PALMER, P. J., 2000 (ur.): Carbonate platform systems: components and interactions. Geological Society of London, London, Special Publication, 178, 231 str. (poglavja/chapters: 89-108).
  • Selected papers from geological scientific journals


Objectives and competences:

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to independently identify and explore the karstic rocks and their impact on the development of various karstic features and karst landscape as a whole. They will learn about the basic concepts of deposition, diagenesis and early karstification of carbonate (evaporate) sequences and the development of carbonate platforms in terms of their geographical, climatic and geotectonic position.


They will learn how and why the carbonate platforms and their sedimentary sequences differ from each other and what is the influence of geotectonic position, in which are formed and what can according to geotectonic position of the carbonate platform be expected after a period of dominant sedimentation. In this context, they will also examine the development and conservation potential of paleokarst and importance of paleokarst in the study of carbonate sequences and the development of recent karst formations and an active aquifer.


They will learn the effects of diageneticlly differentially mature carbonate rocks and related porosity on the development of the aquifer and karst. Students will become familiar with some of the rocks that became karstified only in specific conditions and they learn the basic principles of their karstification. Students will become familiar with examples of the occurrence of certain karst phenomena depending on the tectonic conditions.


Intended learning outcomes:

  • The ability to identify and interpret the karstic rocks;
  • Knowledge of the concepts of development of carbonate platforms;
  • Knowing the importance of the impact of various karst rocks on karst features and landscapes;
  • Knowing the connection between the structural geological elements and karst phenomena,
  • The ability of rock sampling on the field and practical geological analyses of rock samples in laboratory.



Exam (90 %), written paper (10 %).