Graduate School

Geodynamics of carbonate regions (from the sea to the mountains)

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

Objectives and competences

Detailed knowledge on basic geological principles of the Earth contributes not only to general knowledge of the naturalist but essentially also to solving specific problems related to the evolution of the certain area and as such also karstic landscapes. In this sense, it can help to understand the evolution and distribution of karstic underground features and predict or at least narrow the areas where some raw materials related to karst (i.e. bauxite, oil, lead, zinc…) occur as well to predict major courses or paths of underground water flows…

Students will investigate the principles of the plate tectonics and related sedimentary basins. Especially they will devote their attention to study of the different types of carbonate platforms and their transition into karst landscape with regard to different geotectonic regions and tectonic regimes. In this context, they will recognize different karstic landscapes and transition from karst to peleokarst. As an example of geological dynamics of certain karstic region, from the sea to the mountains, they will study geological evolution of Slovenia and neighbouring countries.



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Plate tectonics
  • The Wilson Cycle
  • A plate tectonic rock cycle
  • Sedimentary basins
  • Carbonate platforms
  • The Wilson Cycle and sedimetary basins
  • The Wilson Cycle and carbonate platforms
  • The Wilson Cycle and carbonate platforms
  • Paleokarst
  • Geodinamics of the Tethys Ocean and related continents (selected areas)
  • Regional geology of karstic regions (an example from Slovenia)

Intended learning outcomes

Students will gain detailed knowledge about the principles of geological dynamics of the Earth, its geotectonical regions and their mutual relationship. They will recognize different types of carbonate platforms and their geodynamics with regard to different geotectonic regions where they occur. In this context, they will recognize major or expected karst types with regard to type of the platform and geotectonical region as well as their preservation potential or transition to paleokarst. On realistic examples, mainly from the area of the western marginal parts of the Neo-Tethys (also and mainly present area of Slovenia and neighbouring countries), they will recognise geological evolution of specific carbonate and karstic landscapes.


  • Bosellini, A., 1989: Dynamics of Tethyan carbonate plat¬forms.- In: P.D. Crevello, Wilson, J.L., Sarg, J.F. & Read, J.F. (Eds.), Controls on carbonate platforms and basin development. Society of Economic Pale-ontologists and Mineralogists, 3-13, Tulsa.
  • Busby, C.J. & Ingersoll, R.V. 1995: Tectonics of sedimentary basins.- Blackwell science, 579 pp., Oxford.
  • Moores E.M, & Twiss R.J, 1995: Tectonics.- 415 pp., W.H. Freeman and Company, New York.
  • Otoničar, B., 2007: Upper Cretaceous to Paleogene forbulge unconformity associated with foreland basin evolution (Kras, Matarsko Podolje and Istria; SW Slovenia and NW Croatia).- Acta carsologica, 36, 1,101–120.
  • Izbrani članki/poglavja iz znanstvenih revij/knjig. Selected articles/chapters from scientific journals/books.


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

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of Karstology.


1. KNEZ M., SLABE T., 2013: Stone forests and their rock relief. In: SHRODER, John F. (ed.). Treatise on geomorphology. 1st ed. San Diego: Academic Press: Elsevier, 6, 139-156.

2. KNEZ M., KOGOVŠEK J., LIU H., MULEC, J., PETRIČ M., RAVBAR N., SLABE T., 2012: Karstological study of the new Kunming airport building area (Yunnan, China). Environmental earth sciences, 67, 1, 273-283.

3. GABROVŠEK F., KNEZ M., KOGOVŠEK J., MIHEVC A., MULEC J., PERNE M., PETRIČ M., PIPAN T., PRELOVŠEK M., SLABE T., ŠEBELA S., RAVBAR N., 2011: Development challenges in karst regions : sustainable land use planning in the karst of Slovenia. Carbonates and evaporites, 26, 4, 365-380.

4. KNEZ M., SLABE T., 2009: Lithological characteristics, shape and rock relief of the Lunan stone forest. V: GINÉS, Ángel (ur.), et al. Karst rock features : karren sculpturing, (Carsologica, 9). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC: = ZRC Publishing, 439-452.

5. KNEZ M., SLABE T., 2005: Caves and sinkholes in motorway construction, Slovenia : case study 3. In: WALTHAM T., BELL F., CULSHAW M.. Sinkholes and subsidence : karst and cavernous rocks in engineering and construction, (Springer-Praxis books in geophysical sciences). Berlin: Springer: Praxis, 283-288.

University course code: 3KR046

Year of study: 2

Semester: 2

Course principal:



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

Course type: elective

Languages: slovene, english

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