HIGHLIGHTS OF SLOVENIAN KARST AND CAVES
Session code: OS19
Oral / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference
Dr Nadja Zupan Hajna
The word karst (kras) entered into the international scientific terminology from Slovenia; kras in Slovenian language means rocky and bare landscape and it is often used as a toponym for such a landscape. It means also the Kras Plateau (Karst Plateau) in SW Slovenia which extends between the Trieste Gulf (N Adriatic Sea) and Vipava Valley; it is the NW part of the Dinaric karst. Southwest Slovenia is also known as the Classical Karst, due to its distinctive surface, massiveness of karst forms, early scientific descriptions and explorations done in the 19th century.
In Slovenia karst covers 43 % of surface, 35 % is on limestone and about 8 % on dolomite; it boasts numerous types of karst with superficial and underground forms; in 2016 there are about 11,700 known caves. Cave sediments represent an important source of information on the evolution of tectonic and geomorphological units of different sizes. Correlated- and numerical-ages of cave deposits obtained in last 20 years support new trends and ideas concerning the evolution of karst surfaces especially in the region of the Classical Karst, indicate that cave deposits are up to 5 Ma old and perhaps even older. All sediments were deposited within one post-Eocene karstification period.
Prof. Dr. Nadja Zupan Hajna is geologist by profession and employed as Scientific research adviser at Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU in Postojna. Her research include karstology, karst geology, karst geomorphology, carbonate lithology with weathering and particularly karst and cave sediments, their origin and dating. UIS Adjunct secretary/treasurer since 2009.