Karst geology

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

Objectives and competences

Slovenia is a country of karst and karst science. Its Kras (Classical Karst) region gave its name to landscapes of carbonate rocks, limestones, and dolomites. Almost half of Slovenia is karst, and more than half of its drinking water comes from karst aquifers. The Basics of Karst Geology course is between compulsory courses one of basic courses since knowledge of karst rock and the process of karstification is essential for understanding karst processes on the surface and underground. Student gets knowledge about the basic methods of examining rock and using geological maps. The introductory lectures will present some of the basic content of karstology to provide students with a comprehensive view of karst phenomena.




• Introduction to the basics of karstology
• Karst areas as they appear on various maps
• Origin of rocks
• A global survey of rocks from lateral and vertical perspectives
• Igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock that undergoes karstification
• Structural and lithological properties of rocks
• Basic characteristics of sedimentary rocks
• Basic characteristics of carbonate rocks
• Basic characteristics of the karstification of carbonate rocks

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students will acquire a basic overview of karst phenomena. They will learn the basic characteristics and origins of sedimentary carbonate rocks, primarily limestones and dolomites, and learn to distinguish them from other types of rocks. In the laboratory, they will examine karst rocks and learn to identify their location on geological and geomorphological maps. They will acquire knowledge about the karstification of rocks on the surface and underground and gain an overview of the basic literature.


• Dunham, R.J., 1962: Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional texture.-
In: Ham, W.E. (ed.) Classification of Carbonate Rocks. Am. Ass. Petrol. Geol., 1, 108-121, Tulsa.
• Folk, R.L., 1959: Practical petrographic classification of limestones.- Am. Ass. Petrol.
Geol. Bull., 43, 1-38.
• Folk, R.L., 1962: Spectral subdivision of limestones types. In: W. E. Ham (ed.) Classification of carbonate rocks. Am. Ass. Petrol. Geol., 1: 62-84, Tulsa.
• Gams, I., 2004: Kras v Sloveniji v prostoru in času.- Založba ZRC, 515 str., Ljubljana.
• Palmer, A.N., 2007: Cave Geology.- Cave books, 454 str., Dayton.
• Tišljar, J. 1987: Petrologija sedimentnih stijena.- RGN Fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 242 str., Zagreb.
• Tišljar, J. 2001: Sedimentologija karbonata i evaporita.- RGN Fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 375 str., Zagreb.
• Tucker, M.E. 2001: Sedimentary petrology, An Introduction to the Origin of Sedimentary Rocks (3rd edition).- 262 str., Blackwell science, Oxford.
• Tucker, M.E. & Wright, V.P. 1990: Carbonate Sedimentology.- Blackwell Scientific Publ., 482 str., Oxford, London.
• Selected articles from scientific journals.


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

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of Karstology.


ŠEGINA, Ela, BENAC, Čedomir, ŠUŠTERŠIČ, France, KNEZ, Martin, ČAR, Jože. Linear features on karst surfaces: an example from Krk Island. Geologia Croatica : a journal of the Institute of Geology Zagreb and Croatian Geological Society. 2021, vol. 74, no. 2, str. 139-151. ISSN 1330-030X. DOI: 10.4154/gc.2021.13. [COBISS.SI-ID 76428803]

KNEZ, Martin, SLABE, Tadej, TRAJANOVA, Mirka, AKIMOVA, Tatjana, KALMYKOV, Igor. The karren peeling off on marbles in Altai (Altai Republic, Russian Federation) = Luščenje škrapelj na marmorjih v Altaju (Altajska republika, Ruska federacija). Acta carsologica. [Tiskana izd.]. 2020, letn. 49, št. 1, str. 11-38, ilustr. ISSN 0583-6050. https://ojs.zrc-sazu.si/carsologica/article/view/7197/8248, DOI: 10.3986/ac.v49i1.7197. [COBISS.SI-ID 35064323]

BLATNIK, Matej, CULVER, David C., GABROVŠEK, Franci, KNEZ, Martin, KOGOVŠEK, Blaž, KOGOVŠEK, Janja, LIU, Hong, MAYAUD, Cyril, MIHEVC, Andrej, MULEC, Janez, ALJANČIČ, Magdalena, OTONIČAR, Bojan, PETRIČ, Metka, PIPAN, Tanja, PRELOVŠEK, Mitja, RAVBAR, Nataša, SHAW, Trevor R., SLABE, Tadej, ŠEBELA, Stanka, ZUPAN HAJNA, Nadja, KNEZ, Martin (urednik), OTONIČAR, Bojan (urednik), PETRIČ, Metka (urednik), PIPAN, Tanja (urednik), SLABE, Tadej (urednik). Karstology in the classical karst. Cham: Springer, cop. 2020. XII, 222 str., ilustr., zvd., graf. prikazi. Advances in karst science. ISBN 978-3-030-26826-8. ISSN 2511-2066. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-26827-5. [COBISS.SI-ID 17912067]

KNEZ, Martin, SLABE, Tadej, GABROVŠEK, Franci, KOGOVŠEK, Janja, KRANJC, Andrej, MIHEVC, Andrej, MULEC, Janez, OTONIČAR, Bojan, PERNE, Matija, PETRIČ, Metka, PIPAN, Tanja, PRELOVŠEK, Mitja, RAVBAR, Nataša, ŠEBELA, Stanka, ZUPAN HAJNA, Nadja, BOSÁK, Pavel, PRUNER, Petr, LIU, Hong, KNEZ, Martin (urednik), SLABE, Tadej (urednik). Cave exploration in Slovenia : discovering over 350 new caves during motorway construction on classical karst. Cham [etc.]: Springer, cop. 2016. XIII, 324 str., ilustr. Cave and karst systems of the world. ISBN 978-3-319-21202-9. ISSN 2364-4591. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21203-6. [COBISS.SI-ID 38828077]

GABROVŠEK, Franci, KNEZ, Martin (avtor, urednik), KOGOVŠEK, Janja, MIHEVC, Andrej, MULEC, Janez, OTONIČAR, Bojan, PERNE, Matija, PETRIČ, Metka (avtor, urednik), PIPAN, Tanja, PRELOVŠEK, Mitja, SLABE, Tadej (avtor, urednik), ŠEBELA, Stanka (avtor, urednik), TURK, Janez, ZUPAN HAJNA, Nadja. The Beka-Ocizla cave system : karstological railway planning in Slovenia. Cham [etc.]: Springer, cop. 2015. X, 102 str., ilustr., zvd. Cave and karst systems of the world. ISBN 978-3-319-04455-2, ISBN 978-3-319-04456-9. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-04456-9. [COBISS.SI-ID 56041570]