Karst clastic sediments, mineral composition and origin

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

Objectives and competences

The primary goal of this course is to give students the knowledge about clastic sediments. We divide clastic cave sediments according to origin as autochthonous or allochthonous. The former originate through the processes of disintegration of cave ceilings and walls, and the latter are brought into the caves from elsewhere, most often by water. Allochthonous mechanical sediments in caves include clay, sand, gravel, and light soil that have their source outside the caves. Relative to their depositing both in caves and on the surface, sediments are subject to the processes of diagenesis and weathering.




• Introduction
• Surface clastic sediments on karst in Slovenia and around the world
• Division of clastic cave sediments
• Autochthonous clastic cave sediments
• Allochthonous clastic cave sediments
• Fluvial clastic sediments, their graininess and sedimentation
• Mineral composition of clastic cave sediments and their origin
• Source of soil on karst

Intended learning outcomes

The student becomes familiar with the clastic sediments on the surface and in the caves, which are variable on grain size (clay, silt, sand, gravel), mineral composition, origin and age. According to the composition and texture of sediments, the student learns to determine their origin, way of transport and deposition. They learn about the specifics of cave environment and about accumulation and diagenesis of the sediments. From the information obtained they learn to inferred on paleogeographic, paleoclimatic, tectonic, paleohydrological conditions at the time of sedimentation, deposition and diagenesis of sediments in/on karst. Thus, they acquire knowledge and skills needed for independent research on karst clastic sediments.


• Durn, G. & Aljinović, D., 1995: Heavy Mineral Assemblage in Terra Rossas from the Peninsula of Istria, Croatia. Abstracts, First Croatian Geologica Congress, 31, Zagreb.
• Gregorič, V., 1969: Nastanek tal na triadnih dolomitih. Geologija 12, 201–230, Ljubljana.
• Habič, P., 1992: Les Phenomenes Paleokarstiques du Karst Alpin et Dinarique en Slovenie. Karst et evolutions climatiques. Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 411–428, Bordeaux.
• Kranjc, A., 1986: Underground fluvial sediments as an example from Škocjanske Jame (Kras, Slovenia). Acta carsologica 14–15, 109–116, Ljubljana.
• Kranjc, A., 1989: Recent fluvial cave sediments, their origin and role in speleogenesis. Opera 4. razreda, SAZU, 167, Ljubljana.
• Melik, A., 1961: Fluvialni elementi v krasu. Geografski zbornik 6, 333–361, Ljubljana.
• Mihevc, A. & Zupan Hajna, N., 1996: Clastic sediments from dolines and caves found during the construction of the motorway near Divača, on the classical Karst. Acta carsologica 25, 169–191, Ljubljana.
• Mihevc, A., 2001: Speleogeneza Divaškega krasa. Zbirka ZRC, 27, 180. Ljubljana.
• Zupan Hajna, N., 1992: Mineral composition of mechanical sediments from some parts on Slovenian karst. Acta carsologica 21, 115–130, Ljubljana.
• Zupan Hajna, N., 1995: A comparison of the mechanical cave sediments from the caves the Škocjanske jame, the Labodnica, the Prevala II and the Mejame. Annales for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies 7, 1995, 117–120, Koper.
• Zupan Hajna, N., 1998: Mineral composition of clastic sediments in some dolines along the new motorway Divača- Kozina. Acta carsologica 27, 277–296, Ljubljana.
• Zupan Hajna, N., 1999: Comparison of some clastic sediments from the surface and caves of Divača Karst, SW Slovenia. – V/In: Karst 99 : Colloque européen : des paysages du karst au géosysteme karstique : dynamiques, structures et enregistrement karstiques. Etudes de géographie physique, supplément 28. CAGEP, 209–214, Aix-en-Provence.
• Zupan Hajna, N., 2005: Klastični sedimenti in prst na Krasu = Clastic sediments and soils on the Kras. V: Mihevc, A. (ur.). Kras : voda in življenje v kamniti pokrajini = water and life in a rocky landscape, (Projekt Aquadapt).: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 37-43, Ljubljana.


The oral exam is designed to assess the student acquired knowledge from the classes and ability to understand, articulate and expressing their knowledge. Conditions for examination are the presence at the field work, a short essay (5-10 pages), by which the student works on a certain topic related to his seminar and dissertation. 50/50

Lecturer's references

Associate Professor of Karstology



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