Graduate School

Selective karstification

This course is part of the programme:
Karstology (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

From the academic year 2014/15 the new title of Selected karstification will be Selective karstification.

Selective karstification plays an important role in the process of lithogeomorphogenesis. However, in numerous cases students learn that selective karstification has been overlooked and ignored, obviously adopted, or its causes left unresearched. Student understands that in the formation of the surface, both microscopically and macroscopically, rock has a significant influence, particularly the composition of the rock and indirectly its geological history. On one hand, tiny calcite veins or the slow action of organisms on the surface of the rock influence karstification, while on the other there are diagenetic processes that change the rock over several hundred million years. Student is able to asses that results of karstification do not appear randomly distributed in space but rather is a phenomenon that is often possible to explain precisely.



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Theoretical foundations
  • Methodology
  • Importance of diagenetic changes in rock
  • Discontinuities in rock and their significance
  • Issues of researching bedding-planes
  • Biological karstification
  • Regional evaluation, influence of the lithostratigraphical properties of rock
  • Selected examples in Slovenia
  • Selected examples abroad

Intended learning outcomes

Students will learn that not all carbonate rocks karstify equally. They will acquire an overview of the selective karstification of limestones, dolomitized limestones, dolomites, clastic carbonate rocks, and other rocks. They will learn about the influence of various diagenetic processes and of regional and microtectonic geological elements on karstification. They will become familiar with selective karstification through various concrete examples and get a basic overview of the relevant literature.


  • Ewers, R.O., 1982: Cavern development in the dimensions of lenght and breadth.- Ph. D. thesis, 398 str., Mcmaster University, Hamilton.
  • Knez, M., 1996: Vpliv lezik na razvoj kraških jam.- Založba ZRC 14, 186 str., Ljubljana.
  • Knez et al., (ur. / eds.), 1998: South China Karst I.- Založba ZRC, 247 str/p., Ljubljana.
  • Knez et al., (ur. / eds.), 2011: South China Karst II.- Založba ZRC, 237 str/p, Ljubljana.
  • Lowe, D.J., 1992, The origin of limestone caverns: an inception horizon hypotesis.- Manchester Polytechnic, 512 str., Manchester.
  • Palmer, A.N., 1991: Origin and morphology of limestone caves.- Geological Society of American Bulletin, 103, 1-21.
  • Palmer, A.N., 2007: Cave Geology.- Cave books, 454 str., Dayton.
  • Rauch, H.W. & White, W.B., 1970: Lithologic Controls on the Development of Solution Porosity in Carbonate Aquifers.- Water Resources Research, 6 (4), 1175-1192, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania.
  • Šebela, S., 1998: Tektonska zgradba sistema Postojnskih jam.- Založba ZRC 18, 112 str, Ljubljana.
  • White, W.B., 1988: Geomorphology and hidrology of karst terrains.- Oxford University Press, 464 str., New York.
  • Selected articles from scientific journals.


The examination will be written or oral and will cover the entire course content. It is intended to assess the knowledge the students have acquired in the lectures and their ability to understand, articulate, and present the knowledge acquired. To sit the examination, students must attend at least 50% of the seminars and submit a short paper (5–10 pages) discussing a specific topic in the field of karst terrains round the world or on a selected reference work linked to their seminar work or doctoral thesis. 50/50

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of Karstology.


University course code: 3KR013

Year of study: 2

Semester: 1

Course principal:




  • Lectures: 50 hours
  • Seminar: 30 hours
  • Field exercises: 10 hours
  • Individual work: 90 hours

Course type: genaral elective

Languages: slovene, english

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures • field lectures • individual consultations • written work on selected topic• presentation of results of written work