Karst geomorphology


Earth and Environmental Sciences (2nd level)

Karstology (2nd Cycle)

Course code: MTK02
Year of study: 1st year

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Nadja Zupan Hajna, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 40 hours, seminar 20 hours, laboratory work 15, field work 20 hours, individual work 130 hours.
Course type: mandatory
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, seminars, laboratory work, field work


Course syllabus (download)


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


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Landforms on karst;
  • The role of rocks, climate, soil, vegetation, gradient and other factors in the creation and development of surface and underground karst forms;
  • Karst processes;
  • Dissolution, transport, chemical deposition and preservation of mass in karst;
  • Carbonate dissolution and precipitation from perspective of global carbon cycle;
  • The relationship between lithology and tectonics and the development of karst forms;
  • The relationship between the karst surface and underground (karst structural geomorphology);
  • Active karst denudation, inherited and fossilized forms in karst;
  • Karst in Slovenia;
  • Role of caves in geomorphic system;
  • Dating of the sediments in karst areas;
  • Age of karst and caves in Slovenia and around the world;
  • Planetary geomorphology of karst.



  • BLATNIK, M., CULVER, D. C., GABROVŠEK, F., KNEZ, M., KOGOVŠEK, B., KOGOVŠEK, J., LIU, H., MAYAUD, C., MIHEVC, A., MULEC, J., ALJANČIČ, M., OTONIČAR, B., PETRIČ, M., PIPAN, T., PRELOVŠEK, M., RAVBAR, N., SHAW, T. R., SLABE, T., ŠEBELA, S., ZUPAN HAJNA, N., KNEZ, M. (urednik), OTONIČAR, B. (urednik), PETRIČ, M. (urednik), PIPAN, T. (urednik), SLABE, T. (urednik). 2020. Karstology in the classical karst. Springer, XII, 222. Advances in karst science. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-26827-5.
  • DE WAELE J., GUTIERREZ F.,  AUDRA P., (uredniki). 2015.  Special Issue Karst Geomorphology: From Hydrological Functioning To Palaeoenvironmental Reconstructions. Part II. Geomorphology , 247, 75 str.
  • FORD D. C., WILLIAMS P., 2007. Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. Wiley, Chister: 562 str.
  • GABROVŠEK F. (ur.), 2002. Evolution of Karst: From Prekarst to Cessation. Založba ZRC, Ljubljana: 448 str.
  • GAMS I., 2004. Kras v Sloveniji v prostoru in času. Založba ZRC, Ljubljana: 515 str.
  • GUNN J. (ur.), 2004. Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science. Fitzroy Dearborn, New York/London: 902 str.
  • PALMER A. N., 2007. Cave Geology. Cave Books, Dayton, OH.: 454 str.
  • PARISE, M., GABROVŠEK, F., KAUFMANN, G., RAVBAR, N. 2018. Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications. Geological Society of London, 466.
  • WHITE, W. B. (ur.), CULVER, D. C. (ur.), PIPAN, T. (ur.). 2019. Encyclopedia of caves. 3rd ed. London [etc.]: Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier, 1225 str.
  • ZUPAN HAJNA, N., MIHEVC, A., PRUNER, P., BOSÁK, P. 2008. Palaeomagnetism and magnetostratigraphy of Karst sediments in Slovenia, (Carsologica, 8). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU: 266 str.
  • ZUPAN HAJNA, N. 2019. Dinaric karst – geography and geology. V: WHITE, W. B. (ur.), CULVER, D. C. (ur.), PIPAN, T. (ur.). Encyclopedia of caves. 3rd ed. London [etc.]: Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier, 353-362.


Objectives and competences:

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to independent recognition of karst geomorphology that is recognitions of karst forms and processes.


The subject familiarises students with natural karst processes, with the dissolution rates in various environments, with agents that influence the evolution of karst surface and caves, and with the age of the karst and karst caves in Slovenia and of the world.


During the course, students familiarize themselves with the basic morphology of karst surface and underground and with various research and dating methods. In addition, students learn about karst forms on the surface, caves and their lifeless content.


Students learn the relationship between lithology, tectonics, climate and vegetation cover, with an emphasis on understanding the role solution by carbonic acid, which is a karst the dominant process and with the development of karst surface and caves.


Intended learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge of methods and concepts in karst geomorphology;
  • Ability to recognize and interpret of the surface and underground karst forms and processes;
  • Knowledge of modern research methodologies in geomorphology (on the field as well as in laboratory).



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