Graduate School

Research methods and techniques in karst hydrologeology

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

Objectives and competences

Student is able to use and deepen the basic knowledge about karst hydrology and specific characteristics of the structure and functioning of karst aquifers. Hydrogeological research methods are adapted to such complex structure and they are suitable for application in karst areas. They include methods which are fundamental for all hydrogeological studies (geological and geomorphological research, hydrological analysis, water balance, hydrochemistry and isotopic analysis, remote sensing, geophysics, modelling), but can be modified for the use in karst. But special emphasis is on research methods which are specific for karst aquifers. Speleological methods enable direct observation of the aquifer structure and the characteristics of groundwater flow. Especially important for the study of directions and characteristics of groundwater flow in karst is tracing with artificial and natural tracers. Student becomes familiar with the significance and development of research methods in karst. He understands the difference between the structural and functional approaches and the necessity of a simultaneous use of these two approaches and different research methods in the study of karst water systems. He knows the theoretical bases of the most important research methods and techniques. Based on the examples from practical work he is able to compare their characteristics and different ways of application.


Student can accede to an examination after reaching 50% presence at the seminar and exercises, and preparing a short written work (5 to 10 pages) treating specific topic of karst hydrology or some publication in connection with her/his seminar or doctoral work.

Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Significance of hydrogeological researches
  • Geological, geomorphological and speleological investigatons
  • Hydrogeological mapping
  • Meteorological measurements
  • Hydrological measurements
  • Hydrological balance
  • Spring hydrograph and hydrological analysis
  • Hydrochemical and isotopic analyses
  • Tracing techniques
  • Boreholes
  • Remote sensing and geophysical methods
  • Statistical methods and hydrological modelling

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

  • student understands theoretical basis of research methods and techniques
  • student knows how to choose a suitable method for a planned study and following some additional instructions from the literature he is able to use it in practice
  • student is capable of autonomous evaluation, interpretation and presentation of obtained results


  • Bakalowicz, M., 1994: Water Geochemistry: Water Quality and Dynamics.- In: Gilbert, J., D.L. Danielopol & J.A. Stanford (Ed.): Groundwater Ecology, 97-129, Academic Press, San Diego etc.
  • Bakalowicz, M., 2005: Karst groundwater: a challenge for new resource.- Hydrogeology Journal, 13, 148-160.
  • Bulletin d’Hydrogeologie, No. 14, 1995. Numero Special, Action europeenne COST 65 – Rapport suisse.
  • Goldscheider, N. & D. Drew , 2007: Methods in Karst Hydrogeology.- International Contributions to Hydrogeology, Taylor & Francis, 276 pp, London.
  • Kranjc, A. (Ed.), 1997: Karst Hydrogeological Investigations in South-Western Slovenia.- Acta carsologica, 26/1, 388 pp, Ljubljana.
  • Krawczyk, W.E., 1998: Manual for karst water analysis.- International Journal of Speleology, Handbook 1 – Physical Speleology, 51 pp.
  • Milanović, P.T., 1979: Hidrogeologija karsta.- HE Trebišnjica, 302 pp, Trebinje.
  • Perrin, J., 2003: A conceptual model of flow and transport in a karst aquifer based on spatial and temporal variations of natural tracers.- PhD thesis, Faculty of Sciences, University of Neuchâtel.
  • Shaw, E.M., 1994: Hydrology in Practice.- Chapman & Hall, 569 pp, London.
  • Taylor, C.J., Greene, E.A., 2008: Hydrogeologic Characterization and Methods Used in the Investigation of Karst Hydrology.
  • White, W.B., 1988: Geomorphology and Hydrology of Karst Terrains.- Oxford Univ. Press, 464 pp, New York, Oxford.


Oral exam. A short written work is assessed. 80/20

Lecturer's references

Associate Professor of Karstology.


University course code: 3KR056

Year of study: 2

Semester: 1

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 work • short written work (5 to 10 pages) • presentation and interpretation of project results to other students in open discussion under supervision of the lecturer responsible for the course