Karstification processes

This course is part of the programme
Karstology (Third Cycle)

Objectives and competences

Karst is dynamic system conditioned by solubility of rocks in natural waters. It is shaped by different geochemical and transport processes. Sound understanding of these processes is key for understanding the evolution and functioning of karst system. This course offers an in-depth understanding of karst from the viewpoint of basic processes.




• Equilibrium chemistry
• Chemical kinetics
• Transport processes
• Dissolution in system H2O-CO2-CaCO3
• Groundwater hydraulics in karst
• Processes of speleogenesis
• Morphogenesis of different karst features
• Precipitation of sinter and the growth of stalagmites and stalactites
• Modelling of karst processes

Intended learning outcomes

Student recognizes karst as a dynamic system shaped by physical and chemical processes. Sound understanding of these processes is a key to any independent reserch of karst as a natural system.


• Appelo, C.A.J. and Postma, D., 1993. Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam; Brookfield, VT, xvi, 536 pp.
• Dingman, S.L., 2002. Physical hydrology. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 646 pp.
• Dreybrodt, W., 1988. Processes in karst systems: physics, chemistry, and geology. Springer-Verlag, Berlin; New York, xii, 288 p. pp.
• Freeze, R.A. and Cherry, J.A., 1979. Groundwater. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., xvi, 604 p. pp.
• White, W.B., 1988. Geomorphology and hydrology of karst terrains. Oxford University Press, New York, ix, 464 pp.
• Ford, D.C., Williams, P., 2007. Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
• Palmer, A.N., 2007. Cave geology. Cave Books, Dayton, Ohio.
• Lecture notes and materials provided by the lecturer.


Oral examination, where student demonstrates knowledge and understandingof the topics given at lectures (70%). Condition to enter examination is a written report on a particular topic based on a literature search, individual or group work (30 %).

Lecturer's references

Adjunct Professor of Karstology.



KUKULJAN, Lovel, GABROVŠEK, Franci, COVINGTON, Matt, JOHNSTON, Vanessa E. CO2 dynamics and heterogeneity in a cave atmosphere : role of ventilation patterns and airflow pathways. Theoretical and applied climatology. [Tiskana izd.]. Nov. 2021, vol. 146, iss. 3/4, str. 91-109, ilustr. ISSN 0177-798X. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00704-021-03722-w, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-021-03722-w. [COBISS.SI-ID 75720195]

BLATNIK, Matej, MAYAUD, Cyril, GABROVŠEK, Franci. Groundwater dynamics between Planinsko Polje and springs of the Ljubljanica River, Slovenia = Dinamika podzemne vode med Planinskim poljem in izviri Ljubljanice, Slovenija. Acta carsologica. [Tiskana izd.]. 2019, letn. 48, št. 2, str. 199-226, ilustr. ISSN 0583-6050. https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/carsologica/article/view/7263/7188, DOI: 10.3986/ac.v48i2.7263. [COBISS.SI-ID 45575981]

DREYBRODT, Wolfgang, GABROVŠEK, Franci. Dynamics of wormhole formation in fractured limestones. Hydrology and earth system sciences. 2019, vol. 23, no. 4, str. 1995-2014, ilustr. ISSN 1027-5606. DOI: 10.5194/hess-23-1995-2019. [COBISS.SI-ID 45398061]

GABROVŠEK, Franci, PERIC, Borut, KAUFMANN, Georg. Hydraulics of epiphreatic flow of a karst aquifer. Journal of Hydrology. [Print ed.]. May 2018, vol. 560, str. 56-74, ilustr. ISSN 0022-1694. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.019. [COBISS.SI-ID 42954797]

GRM, Aleksander, ŠUŠTAR, Tomaž, RODIČ, Tomaž, GABROVŠEK, Franci. A numerical framework for wall dissolution modeling : analysis of flute formation. Mathematical geosciences. 2017, vol. 49, issue 5, str. 657-675, graf. prikazi, tabele. ISSN 1874-8961. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11004-016-9641-2, DOI: 10.1007/s11004-016-9641-2. [COBISS.SI-ID 2676323]