Author Archives: Karst Waters Institute

Save the date! KWI Awards Dinner March 3, 2018 in Albuquerque, NM

The Karst Waters Institute is pleased to announce that the Karst Award winner for 2018 is Dr. Victor J. Polyak of the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. Please join us at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building, Room Acoma A&B, at 6:30 pm, March 3, 2018 for presentation of awards and to hear Victor’s talk, Combining Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Speleology. KWI looks forward to seeing you at the Awards Dinner to celebrate Victor’s award and enjoy an evening of conversation and companionship with fellow scientists and friends.

Event: Annual Karst Waters Institute Awards Dinner honoring Dr. Victor Polyak

Date and Time: March 3, 2018, 6:30 pm

Location: Room Acoma A&B, Student Union Building, University of New Mexico Campus

Cost: $40/person

Please use this form to RSVP.  Hope to see you there!

Payment via Credit Card/PayPal:

For instructions on how to pay by credit card without a PayPal account, click here.

Payment by check:

please contact Harvey Duchesne at

About Dr. Victor Polyak:
Dr. Victor Polyak received his Bachelor of Science degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and his Masters and Doctoral degrees from Texas Tech University. Since 1998, he has been a senior research scientist at the University of New Mexico working in paleoclimate and tectonic research using speleothems and sediment from caves around the world.  Victor has studied clays and associated minerals occurring in caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, work that has expanded our knowledge of clay genesis in caves.  His work has also provided additional information about the geologic history of Carlsbad Cavern and the other caves of that region, including their age of formation and connection to the tectonic history of the region. Another area of study is the timing of speleothem growth in Grand Canyon caves, which yielded useful and new information related to the rate of canyon incision by the Colorado River. Victor also has a great interest in sulfur-related speleogenesis, cave minerals, speleothems, and lava tube cave features. Currently, Victor’s interests are focused on paleo-climatology through the study of stalagmites and other speleothems.   Annual banding, fossils, mineralogy, and isotope geochemistry preserved in these speleothems in southeastern New Mexico caves allow the reconstruction of Holocene and Late Pleistocene climate of the southwestern United States. Through continuing research and the need for ever more accurate and precise paleoclimate data, Victor has developed new techniques for dating speleothems and increased the resolution of climate studies using speleothems by a factor of 100.  This has allowed near annual resolution of climate data using speleothems from caves around the world providing researchers valuable insight into climate studies, climate variability and landscape evolution.

Victor has had a life-long interest in caves and cave science.  In 1985, Victor and Noble Stidham founded the Lubbock Area Grotto of the National Speleological Society. While a graduate student at Texas Tech he was encouraged by Professor Alonzo Jacka to collect samples for study from Guadalupe Mountains caves. The work led to his Master’s Thesis, titled The Mineralogy, Petrography, and Diagenesis of Carbonate Speleothems from Caves in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico. Necip Guven, professor and clay mineralogist at Texas Tech, encouraged Victor to continue his cave studies, focusing on clays in Carlsbad Caverns. Using material from his dissertation, Victor and associates published a landmark paper entitled Age and Origin of Carlsbad Cavern and related caves from 40Ar/39Ar of alunite.  In 1998, Victor became manager of Yemane Asmerom’s  Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory at the University of New Mexico. Since then, Victor and Yemane, through multiple collaborations, have continued studies using caves. Victor has applied age-dating isotope geochemistry to the studies on diverse topics such as paleoclimate, landscape evolution, sea level change and archaeology.   Victor is the author or co-author of more than 115 publications on speleology and radiogenic isotope geochemistry. He and his wife, Paula Provencio, reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2017 Friends of Karst Mini Symposium

2017 Friends of Karst Mini Symposium

Friday, November 10th, 2017 from 1 to 5pm
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV – Room TBA

Calling out regional cavers, karst scientists, and anyone else who’s interested in all or any matter related to caves and karst: Join us for an afternoon sharing latest research, exploration, and/or conservation projects, with a regional focus. We will have mix of short talks and a poster session. After the symposium, we will head to the Morgantown Brewing Company for drinks and light fare.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit our registration page.  Please RSVP by November 1, 2017 so that we can put together a list of talks and finalize the room details. Logistics and more information are available here.

Please let either of us know if you have any questions. Looking forward to seeing you in November.

Dorothy Vesper
Associate Professor, Geology Program
West Virginia University

Maria Perez
Assistant Professor, Geography Program
West Virginia University

Thanks to our WVU sponsors: The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Geology and Geography, and the Institute of Water Security and Science

KWI is co-sponsor of the Fifteenth Sinkhole Conference & Third Appalachian Karst Symposium

KWI is proud to be a co-sponsor of the 15th Sinkhole Conference and 3rd Appalachian Karst Symposium! As one of the most successful and well-known international meetings on karst science and engineering, the conference will be returning to the Appalachian region in 2018, to be held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia April 2-6, 2018. Abstracts for presentations and corresponding papers published in the conference proceedings will be accepted through August 31, 2017 (draft papers due Oct. 1). For more information and abstract submittal, please visit


The KWI Karst Award is given annually to an outstanding member of the cave and karst community. The 2017 Karst Award honoree is James R. Reddell.










James spoke at the awards banquet on March 4, 2017, at 6:30 pm, at The Price Center in San Marcos, Texas, and was presented the award at a dinner banquet, during an evening of celebration and conversation about the awardee and our fascinating karst resources.

James gave a presentation titled:

The Cave Fauna of Texas: 1995-2015

If you missed the event and would still like to make a donation, please send a check to:

Karst Waters Institute
P.O. Box 4142
Leesburg, VA 20177

Or, pay vial credit card or PayPal (for instructions on how to pay with a credit card, click here)

All PayPal transactions are subject to a 2.9% plus $0.30 USD fee to cover KWI’s transaction costs. These costs will be added to your cart automatically. 

We look forward to our next honoree in 2018!

Congratulations to Kimberly Hetrick, winner of the 2017 Wilson Award

Kimberly Hetrick is a master’s student at Northeastern Univeristy, studying environmental engineering. In 2014, she graduated from Lehigh University with a bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering, where she researched biofilm growth in natural systems, advanced oxidation processes, and aquaponic farming. At Northeastern University, her research focus is on the effects of suspended sediment on the electrochemical groundwater remediation of karst aquifers. After graduation, Kimberly aspires to continue working with the PROTECT center at Northeastern University to continue on to her PhD.

More information – Wilson Award

Wilson Scholarship application due February 1, 2017

The William L. Wilson Scholarship in Karst Science was established in 2002 to recognize the significant karst science contributions of the late William (Bill) L. Wilson.  Bill Wilson used a variety of techniques, and unusual creativity, to tackle some of the most difficult karst science questions in Florida and elsewhere.  He developed a leading karst consulting company in the United States, Subsurface Evaluations, Inc.  To stimulate the development of new, energetic, motivated, and creative karst scientists, and to remember Bill Wilson and his dedication to karst science, the scholarship has been established in his memory.

The scholarship includes recognition at the KWI spring banquet, a plaque naming the awardee, and a one-time award of $1,000.

Completed applications are due by February 1, 2017.

For more information or to apply, click here.

Save the Date – March 4th, 2017 – Karst Award to James Reddell


The KWI Karst Award is given annually to an outstanding member of the cave and karst community. The 2016 Karst Award honoree is James R. Reddell. Please join us to celebrate and to learn about the fascinating biodiversity found in caves and karst systems.

James will speak at the awards banquet on

The Cave Fauna of Texas: 1995-2015

Please join us on March 4, 2017, at 6:30 pm, at The Price Center in San Marcos, Texas, for presentation of the award at a dinner banquet, and for an evening of celebration and conversation about the awardee and our fascinating karst resources.

Payment and reservation information coming soon…

23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology

KWI is happy to be a cosponsor for the 23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology, to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA, from June 13 to June 17, 2016. This will be the first ICSB held in the United States, where the many caves and karst features in the area will be showcased for scientists and students from the U.S. and from around the globe who have an interest in subterranean biology.

For more information, please go to