Karst hydrogeology

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

Objectives and competences

Student becomes familiar with some basic terms and phenomena connected with the occurrence of water in karst, and with the structure of karst water systems. It is very important that student understands their specific structure and functioning and that she/he is able to apply obtained knowledge in their study. Through different examples the characteristics of karst waters in Slovenia and abroad are described. Special emphasis is on the importance and vulnerability of karst aquifers. They are important natural heritage. As important quantities of groundwater are stored in karst aquifers, they have a great economic significance as well. Due to their structure and characteristics of functioning karst aquifers are very vulnerable to different human impacts, and in order to protect them properly it is important to understand and consider these specific characteristics. Student becomes familiar with different research methods used in the study of karst waters.


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.


• Basic concepts and definitions of karst hydrology
• Conceptual model of karst system
• Recharge of karst aquifer
• Flow in saturated zone
• Discharge of karst aquifers
• Karst hydrological objects
• Research methods in karst hydrology
• Use and protection of karst water resources

Intended learning outcomes

• student knows basic concepts of karst hydrology
• student understands specific characteristics of the structure and functioning of karst water systems
• student becomes familiar with basic research methods of karst hydrology
• student understands the importance of karst water sources and knows the principles of their proper protection
• student is capable of autonomous review and assessment of literature and sources


• Bakalowicz, M., 2005: Karst groundwater: a challenge for new resource. Hydrogeology Journal, 13: 148-160.
• Bonacci, O., 1987: Karst Hydrology. Springer-Verlag, 184 pp, Berlin, Heidelberg.
• Ford, D.C., P.W. Williams, 2007: Karst Geomorphology and Hydrology. Unwin Hyman, 601 pp, London.
• Krešić, N., Stevanović, Z. (Eds.), 2010: Groundwater hydrology of springs: engineering, theory, management, and sustainability. Burlington, MA, 592 pp, Butterworth-Heinemann,
• Petrič, M., 2006: Foundations of karstology, Foundations of karst hydrology = Osnove hidrologije krasa. V: Učno gradivo. Postojna: Znanstveno raziskovalni center SAZU, Inštitut za raziskovanje krasa; V Novi Gorici: Fakulteta za podiplomski študij, Podipl. program Krasoslovje, 22 p.
• Stevanović, Z., 2015: Karst Aquifers – Characterization and Engineering. Springer, Cham, 692 pp.


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

Lecturer's references

Adjunct Professor of Karstology



RAVBAR, Nataša, PETRIČ, Metka, BLATNIK, Matej, ŠVARA, Astrid, 2021. A multi-methodological approach to create improved indicators for the adequate karst water source protection. Ecological indicators: integrating monitoring, assessment and management, vol. 126, 14 p, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.107693

PETRIČ, Metka, RAVBAR, Nataša, GOSTINČAR, Petra, KRSNIK, Petra, GACIN, Marina, 2020. GIS database of groundwater flow characteristics in carbonate aquifers: tracer test inventory from Slovenian karst. Applied geography, vol. 118, 8 p, doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2020.102191

RAVBAR, Nataša, MAYAUD, Cyril, BLATNIK, Matej, PETRIČ, Metka, 2020. Determination of inundation areas within karst poljes and intermittent lakes for the purposes of ephemeral flood mapping. Hydrogeology journal, 29, 213–228, doi: 10.1007/s10040-020-02268-x.

KOVAČIČ, Gregor, PETRIČ, Metka, RAVBAR, Nataša, 2020. Evaluation and Qualification of the Effects of Climate and Vegetation Cover Change on Karst Water Sources: Case Studies of Two Springs in South-Western Slovenia. Water, 12, 3087, p. 1-20, doi: 10.3390/w12113087

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, (Advances in karst science). Cham: Springer, cop. 2020. XII, 222, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-26827-5.