studying speleology

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Re: studying speleology

Postby JackW » Feb 14, 2008 8:31 am

Might add Jay Banner from Univ. Texas Austin. He's actively doing work on paleohydrology in West Texas (Edwards Aquifer) and has several grad students working n various karst related stuff.
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Re: studying speleology

Postby ggpab » Feb 20, 2008 12:41 pm

Seems like having a cross indexed master list of karst and cave researchers would be a helpful thing to have.

a. List by person and location - and then what they focus on .
b. List of sub-disciplines - then the people in that area.

Obviously each researchers would likely appear on the B lists a number of times depending on the breadth of their interests and expertise.

Discussion? Comments?

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Re: studying speleology

Postby baa43003 » Feb 21, 2008 3:42 pm

You don't necessarily have to find a school with a karst specialist (although it does help) to do graduate work in speleology. For my graduate degree I chose advisors who were sedimentologists, hydrologists, and geochemists. Although they weren't particularly interested in caves, their expertise in other fields helped me design and carry out a hydrogeochemical investigation of a karst aquifer. I learned a lot from them, but supplemented my studies with 4 summer field courses at Mammoth Cave and a course at Tom Aley's Underground Lab in MO. I also contacted "specialists" for advice and guidance along the way. At the school where I was an undergrad, a graduate student did a nice geologic study of the Fisher Ridge Cave System. And there were no karst professors at that school either.

Oh, and one more thing. If you skip your geophysics lab to go caving - make sure it's not on exam day!!
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Re: studying speleology

Postby Teresa » Feb 22, 2008 10:07 am

baa43003 wrote:You don't necessarily have to find a school with a karst specialist (although it does help) to do graduate work in speleology. For my graduate degree I chose advisors who were sedimentologists, hydrologists, and geochemists.

This is good advice if you already have an undergrad background in your grad subject of choice, and have a project in mind, (and maybe even a hypothesis to be tested) from which you cannot be dissuaded. If a person just has a vague notion they want to study speleology or something to do with caves, going to an integrated karst program can save a lot of misdirection.

I started grad school with a project in mind, but not exactly sure about how to attack it. I was amazed there were people in grad school who hadn't decided on a project except they had narrowed it to the field of their undergrad degree. Also, remember that professors have projects of their own for which they need grad student help; karst-inclined professors are likely to have one or two of these around which undecided grad students might adopt as their own.

I thought of another prof on the undergrad level: Dr. David Ashley, invertebrate biologist and parasitologist, at Missouri Western St. University in St. Joseph. Dave caves, and teaches a couple of cave classes -- he would be a good advisor for an undergrad karst thesis. (I don't think Mo. Western has a grad program, but I might be mistaken.)
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Re: studying speleology

Postby marsbugs » Mar 10, 2008 6:03 pm

Another place that budding speleologists should investigate is NSS's own Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. Find and article or subject that interests you, and then find out where the author works (assuming she works in academia).

Also, since I didn't see it specifically listed in previous replies, you might check out New Mexico Tech's Cave and Karst Studies Program ( in the Earth and Environmental Science Department.
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Re: studying speleology

Postby Pat Kambesis » Mar 13, 2008 12:39 pm

Western Kentucky University offers a series of week-long summer classes that focus on various aspects of speleology. They can be taken for undergrad or grad credit, or as a workshop, or for Continuing Education Units (the last two less expensive than taking for credit). Most classes are held at Mammoth Cave though a couple are not. See following website for information:

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Re: studying speleology

Postby akcaver » Mar 20, 2008 12:42 am

There are many speleologists out there doing exciting stuff (yours included). Most of the papers being published out there focus on the speleopaleoclimatology aspect of things, as paleoclimatology is a hot subject right now and the methods of getting records out of speleothems are finally on their way to near-perfection. As to karst geology, you might look into the Karst studies group at U South Florida. Philip van Beynan is one of the faculty there and Jason Polk is a PhD student who are both great contacts.

Most of the science focuses on paleoclimatology and hydrology right now, but you should be able to find someone working on the classical geology aspects of karst systems. Do a search on Google Scholar and see what you find, check out the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies (NSS), the International Journal of Speleology, Ira Sasowksi's book (look for it on amazon), and just contact some Faculty active in Karst research. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck in your search!
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Heres a few more names to add to Trish's list:

Jeff Dorale: Iowa
Yemane Asmerom: U New Mexico
Kim Cobb: Ga Tech
Flip Froelich: Florida State
Pauline Treble: Australian National Uni
Larry Edwards: U Minnesota (big timer)
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Re: studying speleology

Postby Geary » Jun 5, 2009 9:06 pm


I would also add Jack Sharp at University of Texas Austin. He has done a lot of work on structural controls for groundwater movement. It is a very competative program and also one of largest in the US with an endowment of hundreds of millions of dollars so there is great support for graduate students.

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