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Author Archives: Karst Waters Institute
The Karst Waters Institute will present the 2020 Karst Award to Dr. Stein-Erik Lauritzen, Professor of Speleology and Quaternary Geology at the University of Bergen, Norway, at the 9th Conference Climate Change: The Karst Record (originally scheduled to be held in Innsbruck, Austria, in June, 2020 but canceled due to COVID-19). This location is appropriate because Dr. Lauritzen organized the first karst climate conference, in Bergen, in 1996.
Dr. Lauritzen received a Cand. Real. (Candidatus realium) degree from the University of Oslo in 1979 with a major in organic chemistry. He remained at the University of Oslo as a research associate until 1985 but switched his research interests from organic chemistry to nuclear chemistry. In 1987 Dr. Lauritzen joined the faculty of the University of Bergen where he advanced to full professor in 1999. He very early recognized the importance of speleothem age-dating and established a laboratory for uranium-series isotope measurements. Very much the international scholar, Dr. Lauritzen has traveled widely to the karst areas of the world and has held appointments at the Racoviță Institute of Speleology in Cluj, Romania and the Karst Institute of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences in Postojna, Slovenia. Generous in sharing his expertise, many of his papers are co-authored with karst researchers throughout the world.
Dr. Stein-Erik Lauritzen is an outstanding example of what cave and karst science is all about. As befits a scientist with the title of professor of speleology, Dr. Lauritzen’s 160+ technical papers span almost every aspect of the cave-related sciences but can be divided broadly into three categories: Geomorphology of caves and karst landscapes, karst processes and aquifer studies, and paleoclimate, paleobiology, and archaeology. At the basic data end of the scale, there are cave maps and scientific cave descriptions. There are descriptions of stripe karst, there are hydraulic interpretations of scallops, there are interpretations of the origin of maze caves. On the more theoretical end of the scale, there are analyses of the dissolution process and the hydraulics of karst water flow.
Perhaps the most important discovery in the karst-related sciences is that isotope and trace element profiles in speleothems provide a high resolution climatic record. The ability to use uranium/thorium isotope dating to provide an absolute time scale for the speleothem record has moved cave science from the fringes to the mainstream of science. Dr. Lauritzen is one of the pioneers in this endeavor. He established the first Quaternary uranium-series dating laboratories in Scandinavia and has continuously updated this laboratory as new experimental experiment techniques appear. His published work includes paleoclimate and also applying isotope dating to paleontological studies.
Update: the KARSYS modeling courses in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Reston, Virginia have been canceled due to concerns about coronavirus. The courses have been rescheduled to take place online, and have already filled to capacity. Thank you for your interest!
Join us for the KARSYS course, a web-tool for modeling karst aquifers in 3D. The course will be held on May 20th, 2020 in Reston, Virginia at the USGS headquarters, and on May 22nd, 2020 in Bowling Green, Kentucky at Western Kentucky University.
KARSYS is developed for geologists and hydrogeologists working in karst regions, in order to address questions related to aquifers and groundwater in a very pragmatic and concrete way. It enables 3D modelling of karst aquifers by synthesizing all standard geological and hydrological data and coupling a series of simple hydraulic principles.
The course is sponsored by the Karst Waters Institute and it is free of charge, thanks to the Cave Conservancy Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and Western Kentucky University. There is a limited amount of space so hurry up and register today.
For information regarding the Reston, VA location contact Dan Doctor at email@example.com.
For information regarding the Bowling Green, KY location, contact Katarina Kosič Ficco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of the Karst Waters Institute has announced that Dr. Stein-Erik Lauritzen, Professor of Earth Science at University of Bergen, Norway, will be the recipient of the 2020 Karst Award. This prestigious honor has been given annually since 1999 to a scientist who has made significant contributions to the field.
Dr. Lauritzen has made seminal and ongoing contributions to the field of speleothem science and the study of glacier ice-contact speleogenesis. He and his students and colleagues have helped to build an understanding of paleoclimate in the terrestrial realm.
The award will be presented at the Climate Change – the Karst Record IX (KR9) Conference at Innsbruck, Austria, 12-15 July, 2020. Information on the meeting can be found at https://www.uibk.ac.at/congres
The William L. Wilson and Diane C. Wilson Scholarship in Karst Science recognizes the significant contributions of the late William (Bill) L. Wilson, who tackled some of the most difficult karst science questions in Florida and elsewhere through his consulting company, Subsurface Evaluations, Incorporated. 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 was established by Diane C. Wilson in his memory. The scholarship includes a one-time award of $1,000. The scholarship is open to any student who is currently enrolled in, or has been accepted into, a master’s degree program at an institution of higher education in the United States. This year’s deadline for all application materials is February 15, 2020. Information on how to apply can be found at the Karst Waters Institute website Wilson Scholarship Page. Additional information can be had through email to Dr. Janet S. Herman ( ).
The next KWI Annual Meeting will be held in Glenwood Springs, CO on March 28, 2020.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Harvey DuChene at email@example.com with the header “KWI Annual Meeting” for more information.
Event: Annual Karst Waters Institute Award Dinner honoring Wil Orndorff
Date and Time: Saturday, March 30, 2019, 5:30 pm (There will be live music by One-Eyed Jack at Rising Silo from 2-5pm before the dinner, and continuing later in the evening)
Location: Rising Silo Brewery, Blacksburg, Virginia
Cost: $40/person ($50 per person after March 15)
The Karst Waters Institute (KWI) is pleased to announce that the Karst Award recipient for 2019 is Wil Orndorff of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Please join us on Saturday, March 30, 2019 for presentation of the award, a presentation by Wil, and a casual fundraising dinner at the Rising Silo Brewery in Blacksburg, Virginia to benefit KWI. A portion of your entry price supports the Wilson Scholarship for students. Tickets for the event are $40 apiece ($50 if purchased after March 15), and include full dinner buffet featuring:
- choice of braised pulled pork shoulder or roasted chicken
- herb grits, roasted root vegetables, & braised greens
- green salad with dressing and sunflower seeds
- rolls with butter and olive oil
- fruit crisp for dessert
- one ticket good for a brew of your choice (beer or non-alcoholic)
KWI looks forward to seeing you at the Awards Dinner to celebrate Wil’s award, hear a presentation by Wil on his work and adventures, and enjoy an evening of conversation and companionship with fellow scientists and friends.
Please make your dinner choice by submitting the RSVP form: click here.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Payment via Credit Card/PayPal (nonrefundable):
Payment by check:
please contact Benjamin Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Wil Orndorff:
A native of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Wil Orndorff drank karst water while looking for caves on the family farm where he was raised, as well as within and around the adjacent abandoned quarry. Introduced to the formal caving world at the age of 18, his interest in caves, karst waters, and geology grew into both a career and a life-long passion. With a bachelors degree from Johns Hopkins and a masters in geology from Virginia Tech focusing on Appalachian tectonics in hand, Wil entered the professional karst world as a self-employed consultant performing karst analyses of the potential impacts of a proposed high voltage power line corridor on karst springs and bat habitat along its path. These analyses included multiple dye traces in cave systems developed in the limestones of middle Ordovician age that host many of Virginia’s larger cave systems. This work gave Wil the credentials needed to secure his dream job as a karst specialist with the state, where he became Virginia’s second karst protection coordinator when Terri Brown, his supervisor, returned to graduate school, leaving large shoes to fill. This job became Wil’s career, and afforded him the opportunity to do the work he loved protecting the resources he cared about. The nature of the job turned Wil into a jack of all trades karst who wears many hats: geologist, hydrologist, conservationist, educator, explorer, and, increasingly, biologist. Wil has had the opportunity to work with a long list of experts across this spectrum, including among many others John Holsinger, Dave Culver, Dan Doctor, Dave Hubbard, Jim Kennedy, Mike and Andrea Futrell, Phil and Charlotte Lucas, Chris Hobson, Roy Powers, Matt Niemiller, Bill Balfour, Larry Smith, Rick Reynolds, Carol Zokaites, Bob Denton, Tom Malabad, Joel Maynard, Shane Hanlon, Joey Fagan, Jerry Lewis, Madeleine Schreiber, Mike and Katarina Ficco, Dan Fong, Karen Powers, and of course his wife and partner in crime, Zenah. One of the most satisfying parts of his career has been seeing folks who worked with him while in college or graduate school like Ben Schwartz and Ben Hutchins achieve great success in the academic karst world, albeit in Texas for those two. Wil has authored or coauthored papers on dye tracing, karst aquifer dynamics, site occupancy by stygofauna, epikarst recharge processes, speleogenesis,conservation planning, utility corridor evaluation, ecology of Gray bats, response of bat populations to White Nose Syndrome, and biogeography of cave invertebrates. His work has resulted in the establishment of two natural area preserves protecting significant caves, and additions of several tracts containing significant caves to existing preserves. Through the VA DCR Office of environmental project review, Wil has helped to avoid or mitigate impacts to hundreds of caves with the help of the Virginia Speleological Survey, with whom he is a director at large in his spare time. Wil’s current projects include the hydrology of ebb and flow karst systems, dynamics of the phreatic aquifer of the Shenandoah Valley, use of the landscape by Gray bats, revision and development of natural community definitions for karst systems, Cenozoic landscape evolution in the central Appalachians, and the biological inventory of Virginia’s designated significant caves. Wil lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with his wife Zenah, in a home frequently visited by their two grown daughters Travertine and Naomi, as well as the usual caver riff raff.
The William L. Wilson and Diane C. Wilson Scholarship in Karst Science recognizes the significant contributions of the late William (Bill) L. Wilson, who tackled some of the most difficult karst science questions in Florida and elsewhere through his consulting company, Subsurface Evaluations, Incorporated. 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 was established by Diane C. Wilson in his memory. The scholarship includes a one-time award of $1,000. The scholarship is open to any student who is currently enrolled in, or has been accepted into, a master’s degree program at an institution of higher education in the United States. This year’s deadline for all application materials is February 1, 2019. Information on how to apply can be found at the Karst Waters Institute website Wilson Scholarship Page. Additional information can be had through email to Dr. Janet S. Herman ( ).
Students, are you interested in working on a karst-related internship this summer? The Geoscientists in the Park program through the National Park Service has a karst hydrology internship opening this summer at the Buffalo National River, in Harrison, Arkansas.
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.
Associate Professor, Geology Program
West Virginia University
Assistant Professor, Geography Program
West Virginia University