UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis

Dear Friends,

On behalf of everyone at NCKRI, we hope you and your loved ones are well. The COVID-19 virus has disrupted many lives, delayed sending of this message, and cancelled or postponed many meetings and activities. Please see the announcements and conference list before for some of these changes.

Here is the latest news:

Various News

  • International Year of Caves and Karst: Partners and Events
  • Tenth Balkan Photo Contest: Call for Photos
  • EuroSpeleo Protection Label 2020
  • Linked Data for Cave and Karst Databases
  • EuroSpeleo Newsletter, March 2020

Student, Educational, and Job Opportunities

  • PhD Student Opportunity in Karst Hydrogeology: Germany
  • 28th International Karstological School: COVID-19 Status Report

Conferences and Meetings

  • The 16th Sinkhole Conference: Postponed
  • UNESCO karst 2020: Postponed
  • 18th International Congress of Speleology: Video
  • Announcing the Central Asian Speleological Forum: Uzbekistan
  • US National Speleological Society Convention: Call for Survey and Cartography Abstracts
  • List of Upcoming Cave and Karst Meetings

Please contact the people and organizations listed below for more information, and feel free to share this message with anyone who may be interested.



International Year of Caves and Karst: Partners and Events

The International Year of Caves and Karst (IYCK) will be the biggest and most important speleological event ever, but only if you participate. Many more partners have joined us to teach the world about the importance of caves and karst. Visit the www.iyck2021.org and if your organization is not listed, and you planning events to support the IYCK, then send in your logo and website. Also, as you plan events, be sure to send them for posting on the IYCK Events page.

The International Union of Speleology (UIS) has declared 2021 as the IYCK in a major effort to make the world aware of how caves and karst are valuable to all people. To get involved, download the IYCK Planning Guide from www.iyck2021.org to learn all you need to know about how to join the IYCK.

The IYCK has incredible potential to advance speleology in many and great ways, but only if we all work together to make it possible.

George Veni, PhD
Executive Director, National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI)
President, International Union of Speleology (UIS)

Tenth Balkan Photo Contest: Call for Photos

Dear Friends,

The New Year is a time for new adventures and emotions and what better way to share these experiences than pictures!

This year again, The Balkan Photo Contest “We and Caves” will give you an opportunity to share, to co-experience and to express yourself through photos. After the opening of the exhibition during the upcoming Balkan Cavers Camp 2020 in July, we will make sure that they will reach a wider range of connoisseurs of photographic art and caves in the form of a traveling exhibition.

Terms and Conditions:

All speleologists and cave explorers are invited to send their photographs. Each participant can submit a maximum of 5 photos in the single category “We and Caves,” depicting the world of caves and people therein.

Photographs should be submitted no later than 31.05.2020 by sending an e-mail to the following address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and an Entry Form available at https://form.jotformeu.com/53381638036356 should be filled out and applied! Photographs without an Entry Form shall not be accepted for participation!

The photographs must be taken in 2019 and need to have a title, the author’s name and the location (Cave). Recommended size of digital files: 2.5 – 10 MB, JPEG format and size on the long side min 3000 pixels.

By sending the photographs, their authors agree that they may be used by organizers to promote Speleology through exhibitions, posters, calendars, promotional materials, etc.

A Jury of 5 members will select the Winners of the Contest - first, second and third place. The best photographs will be awarded with Charters and Prizes by the sponsor of the Contest – the company “Landjoff”. A photo exhibition will be organized with selected works from the Contest during The Balkan Cavers Camp in July 2020 in Dryanovo, Bulgaria and in other Bulgarian cities and Balkan countries.

For more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We wish you a safety  caving and hope to see you in Dryanovo, Bulgaria!

 “We and Caves” Team

EuroSpeleo Protection Label 2020

It is with great pleasure that the European Speleological Federation (FSE) announces this year's call for cave and karst protection projects to receive the “EuroSpeleo Protection Label” (ESPL) from the European Cave Protection Commission of the FSE (ECPC). Since its origin in 1990, the FSE has been trying to promote cave and karst protection in Europe and introduced the ESPL in 2007. Many projects have been awarded since that time.

The "EuroSpeleo Protection Label" is a European speleological award managed by the ECPC and financed by the FSE. The EuroSpeleo Protection Label will help to promote amongst the speleological clubs of Europe, cave and karst protection activities that are designed in an integrated ecological way, taking into account besides FSE charter and rules also EU environmental directives, the principles of administration of the Natura 2000 sites and the IUCN Guidelines on caves and karst protection.

With what kind of project can you apply?

The EuroSpeleo Protection Label will be awarded every year to one unique cave and/or karst protection project. A European speleological jury established by the ECPC Board will make the selection. Any project aiming at protecting caves and/or karst developed by a club, a local committee or a national commission from a member country of the FSE can apply.

What are the criteria to receive the FSE EuroSpeleo Protection Label?

There is no need for participation of cavers from different countries, but the application should be a quality project and the broadcasting of the project presentation and results should be made in a spirit that can be reproduced in other European regions and countries. The application can be received from and must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 15th of June 2020, 23:59 (Central European Time) in English language.

What prize can be awarded for the Label?

For the label 2020 there will be 800.- Euro as financial assistance for the winning project plus one caving gear from our sponsors Korda's, AV Gear or Scurion depending on availability and choice of the FSE Bureau. The winner receives a certificate indicating the project that has won the award.

The 2020 prize hand-over is planned during the 14th EuroSpeleo Forum in Burgos, Spain. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;.

Very Best Speleo Wishes,

Ioana Nicoleta Meleg
In charge of the EuroSpeleo Protection Label
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Linked Data for Cave and Karst Databases

You might have wondered how to find data on caves? How to connect the caves to the documents that speak of them? How to create links between scientific observations, the measurements made by the sensors and the cavities in which these observations were made? How to move data between databases that have been designed independently of each other? How to apply one query to a group of databases even though they are independent and scattered around the world? This is some of what the KarstLink project offers.

KarstLink<http://uisic.uis-speleo.org/exchange/karstlink/index-en.html> is an international cooperation aimed at organizing the machine-readable online sharing of data on the cave and karst environment. Initiated by WikiCaves, FFS, and FSE, the actual work of the project will be carried out under the UIS in order to encourage maximum international participation from cavers, karst scientists and managers.

You can see a presentation here, and more detail at our summary web page here.

The project will be using standardized tools from W3C Linked Data and the Semantic Web to describe the cave and karst environment and thus offer database managers a way to share their work without modifying their infrastructure.

The initial objective is to present at the UIS Congress in 2021, a karst vocabulary/ontology and examples of databases exchanging data using subsets of this ontology.

Interested people from every country are encouraged to join the project. You can right now:

The official launch of the project will take place at ANEK 2020 organized by the FFS in Bourg en Bresse on April 4 and 5. All are welcome!

We will meet you on Saturday between 5 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.

Please forward this message to everyone you know who might be interested.

The management team

Eric Madelaine
Peter Matthews
Yannick Decker
Frédéric Urien

EuroSpeleo Newsletter, March 2020

It is with great pleasure that the European Speleological Federation (FSE) publishes its first EuroSpeleo Newsletter in year 2020. This Newsletter will be exclusively available in electronic form and it will be distributed through the FSE mailing lists, website and Facebook page. It will be edited by the FSE Bureau and will inform member countries and individual speleologists about important events nationally and internationally as well as new developments and the initiatives of the FSE and its member countries. This Newsletter will be released on an occasional basis.

Please spread this newsletter on the broadest way possible among caving clubs and individual speleologists and all those interested.

You can download the English version of the March 2020 Newsletter here.

With cordial regards,

The FSE Bureau, March 2020

PhD Student Opportunity in Karst Hydrogeology: Germany

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is offering a position for a PhD study to conduct research that will focus on Germany’s most spectacular water cave and karst spring and includes hydrochemical and microbiological water-quality monitoring, experimental field work and quantitative data analysis.

Fluency in German is required. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2020. For more information visit:


28th International Karstological School: COVID-19 Status Report

Due to the current conditions related to the Coronavirus pandemic, realization of the 28th International Karstological School "Classical Karst” has been put under question.

Therefore, we kindly suggest you postpone your flight and accommodation reservations, or make a reservation in the way so that cancellation is financially acceptable.

We will follow the situation and recommendations and hopefully, before the end of April, we will let you know whether the conference will be organized normally, postponed or cancelled altogether. For more information: https://iks.zrc-sazu.si/en/

Thank you for understanding and kind regards.

Organizing Committee of the International Karstological School "Classical Karst"

The 16th Sinkhole Conference: Postponed

Dear Friends,

As you are no doubt aware, the COVID-19 virus is spreading around the world. Increasing numbers of restrictions are being placed on travel by governments, employers, and industry to reduce the spread of the virus. As a result, it is not possible to conduct the 16th Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst (more commonly called The Sinkhole Conference) as originally planned for next month from 20-24 April 2020 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, we have arranged with our partners and hotel to reschedule it for 12-16 April 2021.

We have selected April 2021 as the most assured date when the conference can be held with minimal health risks associated with the COVID-19 virus, while meeting our logistical obligations to our participants and partners. This later date also avoids conflict with other conferences scheduled at the end of this year that many of you are already planning to attend.

Here are the most important things you need to know about this change:

  • The extra time allows us to accept more papers! The proceedings with the papers we have received already will be published and posted digitally as scheduled by the end of April 2020. New abstracts and papers will be accepted for a second edition of the proceedings that will be released during the conference next year. We will soon post a schedule for submitting new abstracts and papers.
  • If you are a potential sponsor or exhibitor, you now have more time to join us and meet a large group of professionals and practitioners interested in your organization.
  • The hotel will soon set up an updated registration page where you can reserve your rooms for 2021 at a discounted rate.

On behalf of everyone on the 16th Sinkhole Conference Organizing Committee, we are sensitive to the extraordinary circumstances posed worldwide by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We hope you and you loved ones are well. We made these adjustments to the Sinkhole Conference to maximize protection of your health and ability to attend, enjoy, and benefit from this great meeting, with excellent colleagues, amid the spectacular karst of Puerto Rico. We appreciate your understanding as we strive to overcome this challenge. For more information and to register, go to www.sinkholeconference.com.

16th Sinkhole Conference Co-Chairs:

Dr. George Veni, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dr. Ingrid Padilla
Dr. Brian Smith
Dr. James LaMoreaux

UNESCO karst 2020: Postponed

Dear colleagues,

I hope this message finds you healthy and doing well. Due to the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), we are postponing UNESCO Karst 2020 until August 17-21, 2020. The health and safety of our event attendees is a high priority, and with the growing number of travel restrictions for both academia and government, and multiple states declaring states of emergencies, we have determined that we could not in good conscience continue with the meeting in May. As much of the programming and planning is complete, we are hoping travel plans are flexible and most registrants will be able to attend in August. We anticipate that the schedule and all events will remain the same, pre-meeting field trip included, they will just occur August 15-21, 2020 rather than in May.

If you cannot attend the meeting in August, we will issue registration refunds and will be in touch by March 27 with details on how to request a refund. We appreciate your patience with this matter and will do our best to address this in a timely manner.

If you have made hotel reservations at the Hyatt Place or Holiday Inn, please contact those hotels directly to cancel or change your reservation.

If you are a presenting author or workshop facilitator that cannot make the August meeting, please contact me directly at this email address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This decision was not an easy one for the local committee. We are very disappointed that we cannot proceed as planned but we feel it is the right one given the current situation. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we work together to arrange a safe and healthy meeting later this summer.

All the best to each of you and we hope to see you in August.

UNESCO Karst Planning Committee

18th International Congress of Speleology: Video

The 2021 International Congress of Speleology will be held in Savoie Mont-Blanc, France on the Campus Savoie Technolac from on 25 July to 1 August 2021. A fun video on the conference is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYGaSQZ2zDk

Don’t forget to bookmark http://uis2021.speleos.fr/ for more information.

Announcing the Central Asian Speleological Forum: Uzbekistan

This international forum, the first of its kind for Central Asia, is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of speleological research in Central Asia. It will be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 21-24 August 2020. The purpose of the Forum is to advance speleology in Central Asia with the following specific goals:

  • Enhance support for the speleological movement in Central Asian countries.
  • Improve coordination of speleological research and the regional study of caves in various aspects of the speleological and earth sciences.
  • Expand speleo tourism in the region.
  • Broadly inform the public about the history of modern speleological research and promising expeditions.

The conference will include and welcomes talks on all aspects of speleology, including exploration, science, management, and tourism. Abstracts must be received by 20 July 2020. Registration is now open at a low price until 1 July 2020, when the price increases. An optional field trip is offered to wonderous historical city of Samarkand.

For more information, to register, and to send your abstract, go to: https://speleo.kg/en/news/first-circular-speleo-ca-forum-2020/.

US National Speleological Society Convention: Call for Survey and Cartography Abstracts

This is a call for presentations for the Survey and Cartography session at the 2020 US National Speleological Society (NSS) Convention. The session provides a good way to tell other cave mappers what you are doing, and to discuss problems related to mapping and cave surveying. Most cave surveyors have either developed useful techniques that may benefit others, or are encountering problems that someone else may have solved. In either case a session presentation would be appropriate.

The session is informal and the audience is friendly. There are no requirements to provide fancy visual aids or to provide a written paper (other than an abstract to include in the Convention’s Program). Most presentations are scheduled for 15-20 minutes, but this is very flexible and can be changed to accommodate the presenter. The session is currently scheduled for Friday afternoon, July 31.

Presentations can be on any topic related to any aspect of cave mapping, and the material can be for

folks with any level of mapping experience. A partial list of potential presentation topics includes:

  • How to keep cave mud off your survey instruments (while still going into the cave)
  • Tips on the care and calibration of electronic survey instruments
  • How to resolve blunders without another trip to the cave
  • Large project management (personnel, survey standards, data processing, etc.)
  • New tools, toys, or software to aid in mapping or cartography
  • Representing complex vertical caves on a 2-dimensional map
  • Demonstrations of techniques for improving efficiency when drafting maps on a computer
  • Comparison of various programs for survey processing, map drawing, and data visualization
  • Integrating cave survey data with surface and GIS data

The above list is obviously incomplete. If you are doing something that you think would be of interest to other cave surveyors, please consider doing a presentation on it. We are also open to suggestions for topics for an “open discussion” to solicit input from the session attendees.

The session will be chaired by Carol Vesely. Abstracts can be e-mailed to her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to her at 328 Highland Place, Monrovia, California 91016 USA. Your abstract must be limited to 250 words. Please make it a summary of your conclusions and results, not simply a statement of what you are going to talk about. Also, let Carol how much time you will need for your presentation and whether you need any special equipment. The deadline for submitting abstracts is June 23.

For questions about the session please contact Carol Vesely at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 626-614-7067. For information about the Cartographic Salon go to www.caves.org/committee/salons/Cartographic.shtml. Check the convention’s web site, www.nss2020.caves.org, for more information about the convention, which will be held on July 27 – 31, 2020 in Elkins, West Virginia.

List of Upcoming Cave and Karst Meetings


George  Veni, PhD

Executive Director, National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI)
President, International Union of Speleology (UIS)
NCKRI address (primary)
400-1 Cascades Avenue
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220 USA
Office: +575-887-5517
Mobile: +210-863-5919
Fax: +575-887-5523
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UIS address
Titov trg 2
Postojna, 6230 Slovenia