UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Karst Commisson held its annual meeting on September 26 at the Trade Fairs and Congress Center of Malaga, during the 46th Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. The meeting took place in room 1.B and was well attended with approximately 35 people. The meeting started at 18:00 and ended at 19:30.

The meeting was coordinated by chairman Augusto Auler, assisted by co-chairman Zoran Stevanović. The presentation sequence followed the items listed below:

  1. Membership and Finances.
  2. Report of activities since last meeting in Besançon 2018.
  3. Topics to be discussed.
  4. Future Activities.
  5. Young Karst Researcher Prize.


The KC has presently 68 members, with three new members since our last annual meeting held in Besançon: Avi Burg (Israel), Konstantinos Voudouris (Greece) and Rosario Ruggeri (Italy). We also have approximately 43 “Friends”, which are people interested in karst (or young researchers) that are kept updated with our activities through our newsletter. The list of “Friends” is informal, open to anyone interested and always growing.


As an IAH commission we have no regular source of income. Support comes from donations to our programs. We have currently:

1,100 USD

858 Euros

This amount will be directed towards the “Funding for Young Scientists to Attend Conferences” as approved in Besançon 2018.



Three meetings were organized by KC members and all happened in June, which made the attendance to all of them a nearly impossible task. After many years, a traditional event of the KC was reestablished. The Karst Commission Geotrip was organized by colleagues from Serbia and Romania and took place between 15-18 of June. Approximately 30 people attended the Geotrip which consisted in an informal field trip mixing karst and cultural
sites in a relaxed atmosphere. The Geotrip visited the karst areas along the southern margin of the Carpathian Mountains, between the Danube and Olt rivers. The overall opinion was that it was an excellent meeting (http://www.karst.edu.rs/en/index.html).

Between June 17-21, the 27th Karstological School was organized by KC member Nataša Ravbar and karst colleagues from Postojna’s Karst Institute and dealt with “Karst Hydrogeology – Research Trends and Applications”. 153 participants from 25 countries attended the meeting. Keynote speakers were I. Sasowsky, R. Benischke, I. Jemcov, L. Gill and M. Sinreich, with a total of 35 additional presentations plus 57 posters(http://iks.zrc-sazu.si/datoteke/IKS-27-Guide-book-2019.pdf).

Between June 24-26 karst enthusiasts gathered in Sicily for the Man and Karst Conference. Organized by KC Member Rosario Ruggeri, the meeting had approximately 100 participants from different countries and institutions. A total of 35 presentations were given, some of which will be selected for future publication in Springer’s Carbonates and Evaporites. Field trips were offered in karst and volcanic landscapes of Sicily (http://cirs-ragusa.org/blog/program/).


Three courses took place since the 2018 Besançon meeting.

In May 26 – June 1, 2019, the International Course on Characterization and Engineering of Karst Aquifers took place in Belgrade, coordinated by the Centre for Karst Hydrogeology of the University of Belgrade. Field trips occurred in the Carpathian Karst. In September 21-22, 2019, prior to the IAH Conference in Malaga, the HYDROKARST course was offered, coordinated by KC member Bartolomé Andreo and Juan José Duran. Two editions of the Short Course KARSYS occurred in 2019. This one-day course was offered during the Karstological School in Postojna and again at the IAH Congress in Malaga.


Four new books related to karst hydrogeology were published since Besançon 2018. These books were either coordinated by KC members or contain chapters written by our members. All books were published by Springer:

  • Eurokarst 2018, Besançon. Advances in the Hydrogeology of Karst and Carbonate Reservoirs. Edited by Catherine Bertrand, Sophie Denimal, Marc Steinmann and Philippe Renard.
  • Karst Groundwater Contamination and Public Health. Beyond Case Studies. Edited by William B. White, Janet S. Herman, Ellen K. Herman and Marian Rustigliano.
  • Karst Water Environment. Advances in Research, Management and Policy. Edited by Tamim Younos, Madeline Schreiber and Katarina Kosic Ficco.
  • Dams and Reservoirs in Evaporites. Edited by Petar Milanovic, Nikolay Maksimovich and Olga Meshcheryakova.


The first WOKAM (World Karst Aquifer Mapping – a KC project) article, published in 2017 in Hydrogeology Journal and led by Zhao Chen and Nico Goldscheider, is one of the highest cited in the journal. A second paper has been submitted and is presently under review.

The WoKaS – World Karst Spring hydrograph database, an initiative led by Tunde Olarinoye and Andreas Hartmann, has a worldwide group of collaborators. A very large and important dataset has been built and a paper has been submitted to Nature Scientific Data.

A topical paper collection on sustainable management of karst natural resources has been published in Environmental Earth Sciences, organized by Sasa Milanovic and Zoran Stevanovic.

KC member Pierre-Yves Jeannin pointed out that the “Karst Modelling Challenge”, a KC project, had a meeting prior to the Malaga IAH Conference and is preparing a manuscript for submission.

KC member Nico Goldscheider commented about the project KARMA (Karst Aquifer Resources Availability and Quality in the Mediterranean Area) is now in its initial stages and will involve many KC



The KC currently has two programs, the well-established Young Karst Researcher Prize and the new Funding for Young Scientists to Attend Karst Commission Conferences.


About the latter there was a discussion. Augusto Auler pointed out that the KC has received no applications and perhaps there wouldn’t be enough people to apply. The audience felt that we should try to help more people. The consensus was that we should not stick exclusively to the “low income criteria”, but instead focus on people that need financial support as many students do. Therefore, it was decided to expand our criteria and students that cannot fully support themselves will also be eligible for the funding. Partial funding, in order to help more people, will also be taken into consideration. The KC chairmen should coordinate the selection based on received applications and motivation letters.


KC member Avi Burg suggested that the KC should sponsor, partially, young scientists to attend Geotrips. It was suggested that some members could volunteer giving an “extra” money that would be used towards supporting low income young scientists. The amount of “donation” was not fixed but should be at the discretion of anyone willing to cooperate. At present the KC has no money to be used in this new funding program.


  • The Karst Commission is very well represented in social media.
  • Our website is being regularly updated by KC member Aidan Foley, thanks to Mott MacDonald. KC
  • Facebook page is active, being updated by KC member Andreas Hartmann.
  • KC Twitter page is also active and updated by KC member Andreas Hartmann.
  • KC Linkedn page is under responsibility of KC member Catherine Coxon.


A change for a more visually attractive format for our newsletter, the KC News, is being attempted since the beginning of 2019. This allows pictures to be included within the message, avoiding attachments. There have been problems with some e-mails, with messages bouncing back. The main problem occurs with yahoo.com accounts. A change in the platform will be attempted in order to avoid this problem.


We have received proposal for new membership followed by candidates’ applications. These applications were announced in our KC News newsletter, together with a short CV for each applicant. No concerns were raised by any of our members by period of one month and thus we welcome three new KC members:

  • Dr. Eleni Zagana from Greece.
  • Dr. Olga Meshchryakova from Russia.
  • Dr. Adrian Iurkiewicz from Romania.


As stated discussed in Besançon 2018, Chinese colleagues have successfully established a Technical Committee (TC 319) to work on standardization in karst areas. The TC had its first meeting in Guilin on the 23nd of September. According to co-chairman Zhang Cheng, it was a very successful meeting and two projects were approved by the scientists: “Monitoring methods on Karst Critical Zones” and “Karst and Cave Terminologies”.



The KC official meeting in 2020 will be the UNESCO Karst 2020, Conservation of Fragile Karst Resources, to take place in Bowling Green (USA) between May 18-22. This meeting is being organized by KC member Chris Groves. Abstract submission and registration are now open.

The 2020 Geotrip will occur between May 11-15 in Yellowstone National Park, in the United States, as approved in our official meeting in Dubrovnik in 2017. A tentative program for the Geotrip was presented and contains four days of tours. The meeting point will be the town of Gardiner and the nearest airport is in Bozeman, Montana. As usual there will be no fees and the participants will take care of the accommodation, food and transport (through rented cars). The Geotrip has been scheduled to be linked with our official meeting in 2020, the UNESCO Karst.

It was decided that in 2021 the KC official meeting will take place during the Eurokarst 2021 conference, on June 22-24 in Malaga, Spain.


The Karst Commission will have its 50th anniversary in 2020. A celebration will occur during the UNESCO Karst meeting in Bowling Green. Zoran Stevanovic and Augusto Auler presented a proposal that involves a ceremony in which three long standing KC members will be honored, one for each geographical area:

  • Dr. Derek Ford (Canada) for the Americas.
  • Dr. Petar Milanovic (Serbia) for Europe and Africa.
  • Dr. Yuan Daoxian (China) for Asia and Oceania.

These three scientists will be formally invited to attend. A plaque or certificate will be provided. Details of the ceremony are being planned in conjunction with the UNESCO Karst conference organizers. The KC will seek for donors to support the attendance of the three honorees. The proposal was approved unanimously.


It was proposed that an article/short paper (essay) should be written about the 50th anniversary of the Karst Commission. A possible outlet could be Hydrogeology Journal. The editor, Clifford Voss, will be contacted. KC member Jim LaMoreaux proposed that Springer and its edition “Springer’s bridges”, with publications of 50-150 pages could also be a possibility. The KC chairmen will coordinate this effort. The proposal was approved.


Jim LaMoreaux presented a few most recent publications of the Springer. Pierre Yves Jeanin informed about recent and planned activities of a group karst aquifer modelers. Nico Goldscheider emphasis importance of series of lectures which is regularly take place at the University of Karlsruhe and Edwards Aquifer Authority (San Antonio).


A commission composed by members Peter Malik, Philippe Meus, Zoran Stevanovic and Augusto Auler
attended all karst sessions and jointly selected three winners for the 2019 Young Karst Researcher
Prize. The winner’s received typical local gifts from the IAH Conference organizers and books from
Springers. The awardees were:

  • Flann Corcoran – TU-Berlin, Germany.
  • Marie-Amelie Petre – HydroSciences Montpellier, France
  • Emmanuel Dubois - UQUAM Canada.


The meeting was adjourned with thanks to our current sponsors: Springer, Mott MacDonald and Tim Bechtel (Enviroscan), and a pledge was made for further donations. After a few considerations by the audience the meeting came to a close.