Published by the American Geological Institute
of the Earth Sciences
John E. Mylroie
|Cave and karst science got a strong
start last year with the Karst Modeling Conference, sponsored by the Karst
Waters Institute and held Feb. 24-27, 1999, in Charlottesville, Va. Covering
conceptual models, analytical models, digital models, scale models, statistical
models, and acquisition and application of field data, the conference followed
a trend of attempts to bridge the gaps between theoretical analyses and
As summarized by Arthur Palmer, a board member emeritus of the Karst Waters Institute, the meeting addressed such aspects of karst modeling as groundwater flow patterns, velocities and divides; distribution of porosity and permeability; interaction
The sheer cliffs along the coast of Isla de Mona, west of Puerto Rico, contain
a conspicuous horizon of solutional caves in Miocene carbonates. The
distribution of caves and their sedimentary deposits in such carbonate islands
provide clues to late Cenozoic sea-level fluctuation, tectonic uplift and mixing
between freshwater and seawater.
Arthur N. Palmer.
While the Karst Modeling Conference had a strong
theoretical bent, the Seventh Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes
and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst (also called the
“Sinkhole Conference”) was held April 10-14 in Harrisburg, Penn., to explore
applying cave and karst knowledge to dealing with land use in karst areas.
Sponsored by P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates, this series began in 1984 and
has become the premier forum for applied geology and engineering in karst
terrains. As a result, the proceedings of these conferences (published
by A. A. Balkema) have become a critical reference source for consultants
and regulators. The influx of ideas and experience from overseas speakers
— from Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, India, Ireland, Kuwait,
Lithuania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom — presented
karst land-use solutions that were creative and often extremely economical.
A special session on highways in karst was timely, as more areas undergo
development. The application of sophisticated geophysical techniques and
modeling has resulted in karst engineering becoming less reactive and more
|The National Speleological Society held its annual meeting in Filer, Idaho, July 12-16, 1999, which included a symposium on sulfuric-acid karst. The oxidation of hydrogen sulfide from hydrocarbon reservoirs to create cave-generating acids remains a hot topic. The concept is being refined by more study of reactant and product transport mechanisms, argon dating of alunite, the role of microbes in karst processes, and the origin of secondary gypsum within carbonate rocks. Additionally, the setting of the meeting was used to present pseudokarst processes associated with volcanic terrains.|
The main stream passage of Blue Spring Cave, Ind. The distribution of
cave passages in the Ohio River valley has helped to clarify the history of
fluvial erosion and deposition in the region, Recent dating of quartz
sediment in the cave's valley with cosmogenic radionuclides has
quantified the stages in the drainage evolution of the Ohio basin.
Arthur N. Palmer.
The October Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in Denver last October included a session called, “Sediments in Karst Systems: Processes, Mechanisms, Interpretation.” Sponsored by the GSA Hydrogeology Division, the GSA Quaternary Geology
Karst Science Award
The Karst Waters Institute initiated the Karst
Science Award last year to recognize individuals who have made significant
contributions to the understanding of karst processes. The inaugural recipient
was Derek Ford, recently retired from McMaster University, who was recognized
for his numerous achievements spanning four decades.
Mylroie teaches geology at Mississippi State University, is a board member for the Karst Waters Institute and is a fellow of the National Speleological Society. E-mail: Mylroie@Geosci.MsState.edu