Age of karst sediments in Slovenia

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

Objectives and competences

In recent years, numerous cave sediments in Slovenia have been dated using a variety of methods. Students learn about the results of the dating, the age of cave sediments in Slovenia and the development of the karst as well. The largest dating of sediment in karst regions was done in southwestern Slovenia. Students learn that in this region, the last sea sedimentation occurred in the Eocene when flysch sediment was deposited. A land phase followed that was dominated by denudation. A very few sediments were preserved on the surface, but caves were favourable areas for sedimentation and flowstone and various types of clastic sediments are preserved in them. In the eastern part Holocene and Pleistocene fauna were found, while in the interior no animal or plant remains were found in the oldest sediments so their age has long been the subject of various speculations. More concentrated dating using the U/Th and paleomagnetic methods, which are presented to students, have provided a better understanding of the age of karst sediments and a chronological sequence of speleological events. Even more results are showing us the development of caves and the karst surface, the development of individual karst areas in Slovenia, and defining the time of individual events from both the climate and tectonic viewpoints.




• Age of cave sediments in Slovenia according to work by archeologists, paleontologists, and geographers before Gospodarič
• Chronostratigraphy of cave sediments in Slovenia according to Gospodarič
• First absolute dating methods with 14C, U/Th, ESR in Postojna and Križna caves
• Dating with the U/Th in Slovenia. Dating using geomorphological comparison method on selected examples
• Use of paleomagnetic method in selected caves in Slovenia
• Dating of sediments in selected cases from Slovenia’s karst region
• Development of caves and karst in Slovenia relative to results of dating methods

Intended learning outcomes

Special emphasis is that student gets acquainted with the age of sediments from selected caves in Slovenia. Students must acquire knowledge about the time of speleogenesis and development of karst in Slovenia, and the knowledge to critically evaluate the existing literature on topic and to be able to use it at their work. Thus, they acquire knowledge and skills needed for independent research.


• Ford, D. & Gospodarič, R., 1989: U series dating studies of Ursus spelaeus deposits in Križna jama, Slovenia. Acta carsologica, 18, 39-51, Ljubljana.
• Gospodarič, R., 1988: Paleoclimatic record of cave sediments from Postojna Karst. Annales de laq Société géologique de Belgique, T.111, 91-95, Liege.
• Mihevc, A., 2001: Speleogeneza Divaškega krasa. Zbirka ZRC, 27: 1-180. Ljubljana.
• Zupan, N., 1991: Flowstone datations in Slovenia. Acta carsologica, 20, 187-204, Ljubljana.
• Zupan Hajna, N., Mihevc, A., Pruner, P. & Bosak, P., 2008: Palaeonagnetism and magnetostratigraphy of karst sediments in Slovenia. Založba ZRC, Carsologica, 8, 1-266, Ljubljana.
• Bosák, P., Pruner, P., Zupan Hajna, N., Hercman, H., Mihevc, A. & Wagner, J., 2010: Križna jama (SW Slovenia): Numerical- and correlated- ages from Cave Bear-bearing sediments = Primerjava številčne in korelirane starosti sedimentov z ostanki jamskega medveda v Križni jami. Acta carsol., 39/3, 529-549.
• Zupan Hajna, N., Mihevc, A., Pruner, P. & Bosák, P., 2010: Palaeomagnetic research on karst sediments in Slovenia. Int. J. Speleol. (Ed. Ital.), 39/2, 47-60.
• Pruner, P., Zupan Hajna, N., Mihevc, A., Bosák, P., Otakar, M., Schnabl, P. & Venhodová, D., 2010: Magnetostratigraphy and fold tests from Račiška pečina and Pečina v Borštu caves (Classical Karst, Slovenia). Stud. Geophys. Geod., 2010, 54/1, 27-48.
• Pruner, P., BOSÁK, Pavel, Zupan Hajna, N. & Mihevc, A., 2009: Cave sediments in Slovenia: results of 10 years of palaeomagnetic research. Slov. Kras, 2009, 47/2, 173-186.
• Zupan Hajna, N., Pruner, P., Mihevc, A., Schnabl, P. & Bosák, P., 2008: Cave sediments from the Postojnska-Planinska cave system (Slovenia) : evidence of multi-phase evolution in epiphreatic zone = Jamski sedimenti iz postojnsko-planinskega jamskega sistema (Slovenija) : priča večfaznega razvoja v epifreatični coni. Acta carsologica, 37/1, 63-86.


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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