Conferences, Field Trips, and Seminars

Conferences, Field Trips, and Seminars

KWI organizes small, interdisciplinary conferences, field trips, and seminars on karst, cave, carbonate reservoir, and groundwater-related topics.

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KWI publications include abstracts, proceedings, and field trip guides from KWI conferences, results of KWI research, and digital reprints of books and journals.

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What is karst and why is it important? KWI provides educational materials to the general public about karst, caves, sinkholes, and karst-related groundwater resources.

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2023 Wilson Scholarship now available ($2000)

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 $2,000.

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, 2023. Information on how to apply can be found at Additional information can be had through email to Dr. Janet S. Herman (

GSA Topical Session on karst contamination, health, and public policy

KWI is pleased to share upcoming opportunities for abstract submissions for the 2022 Geological Society of America Meeting in Denver, CO:

GSA Topical Session T211. Natural Contamination, Natural Hazards, Health Risk, and Public Policy: Success stories and models for managing, communicating, and updating policy to address health risks of natural contamination and hazards.”

This session is not strictly about groundwater or private wells. It is about naturally occurring contaminants and their public health impacts, including success stories of those who were able to change policies as a result of the challenge. The goal of this session is to come away with practical ideas that attendees can use in their work to protect public health. The session is sponsored by four GSA Divisions, and the organizers hope T72 will attract presenters who can share lessons learned about the application of geology to public policy and public health.

The electronic abstracts submission form opens May 1
Abstract submission deadline July 19 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.
Denver Meeting Website

Session Description
This session will consider how managing the public health risks from natural hazards and contaminants are addressed differently than manmade contaminants. Available resources, policy, and educating the public are all handled differently. Share your successes.

Session Rationale
Manmade contaminants gain public attention in the press. Federal programs provide insight and oversight to delineate plumes, clean up contaminants, and provide affected residents with clean air, water, and earth. Many geologists are employed by environmental consultants to deal with these contaminants. Yet
according to USGS (DeSimone, 2009), the most common well water contaminants are naturally occurring. In 2013 Wake County, NC implemented a program to notify private well users about risks of man-made contamination, and in the ensuing 6 years tested several hundred wells for the synthetic organic
contaminants associated with such sites. The county’s 2016 review of a decade of well testing found that over 10% of tested wells exceeded the drinking water standard for uranium, while only about 1% exceeded drinking water standards for manmade contaminants. Comparison of the uranium testing data to detailed geologic mapping revealed that 20-30% of the wells in an area covering ½ the county, an area underlain by Pennsylvanian granitic intrusions, were likely to be contaminated with uranium or other radionuclides, a finding in accordance with DeSimone and others, 2009.

The fact that these contaminants are naturally occurring complicates and limits the ability of well users to mitigate their health risks. Wake County is not alone. It is estimated that approximately 15% of the US population obtain their drinking water from private wells (U.S. Census Bureau (USCB), 2009). Taking the USGS and USCB estimates together, approximately ten million people in the US are currently exposed to unsafe levels of naturally occurring contaminants in their drinking water, yet there are no federal programs to provide resources to educate or assist these users of unregulated wells. Well water is not the only pathway of exposure to contamination from naturally occurring contaminants. Session proponents would like to learn from others who have dealt with natural hazards or contaminants and the following: limited resources while managing public health risks; risk relative to public investment in resolving natural vs. manmade contaminants and hazards; models from natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes; successful policy responses; outreach campaigns; and lessons learned.


Call for submissions for the Karst Waters Institute Karst Photo Contest

Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, you can help us illustrate karst features and processes for a wide audience including technical professionals, educators, and citizens wishing to learn more about karst.  Dive into your collection of photographs from karst regions around the world and submit your best images to our first-ever Karst Waters Institute (KWI) Karst Photo Contest.  Your images (with full attribution) could be featured on our web site at or in social media or other KWI communications intended to help others understand, appreciate, and protect karst resources.  Our goal is to use images to illustrate and, therefore, better communicate facts about karst.  We seek imagery to illustrate the karst landscapes (geomorphology), geology, hydrology, biology, and cultural history of karst systems.

Enter your photos until midnight February 15, 2022.



  • 1st place prize is $500.
  • 2nd place prize is $250.
  • $50 prizes will be awarded for one outstanding photograph in each of the five categories: karst landscapes (geomorphology), geology, hydrology, biology, and cultural history.

The winners will be contacted via the email address provided during entry.  Public announcement of the winners will be made at the KWI Annual Awards Ceremony in late March 2022.

Selected photos will be displayed as part of a slide show at the KWI Annual Awards Ceremony.


  1. By participating in this Photo Contest you grant the Karst Waters Institute (KWI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution, the right to publish your full name and photographs on their web site and in their social media without compensation, notice, review, or approval. Author will be cited whenever a photograph is used.
  2. Photo submissions may come from anywhere in the world, but the location of the photograph must be reported.
  3. A short description of the subject of the photo must accompany the image. The subject being illustrated must be clearly explained in words.  Word limit is 100 words.
  4. All photo submissions must be JPEG file format. Resolution should be about 300 DPI.  File size must be less than 10 MB.
  5. File names should include your name and photo location. (i.e., JaneBrown-FloridaCollapsedSinkhole.jpeg)
  6. Each individual is limited to no more than 10 submissions for this year’s competition. Submit only one photograph with each email (see below).
  7. Individuals must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
  8. All photos must be original work, taken by the entrants. No third party may own or control any materials the photo contains, and the photo must not infringe upon the trademark, copyright, moral rights, intellectual rights, or rights of privacy of any entity or person.
  9. Individuals officially affiliated with KWI (Board of Directors, Institute Officers, Associates, and Emeriti) and members of their families are not eligible for this competition.


Photographs will be anonymously judged based on the quality of the image as an illustration of the karst feature or process being documented.  A component of the quality of the submission is the clear explanation in words of what the image illustrates.  Judges will be five members of the KWI Board of Directors and three non-affiliated colleagues with experience in photo-judging competitions.

Successful photographs will be those showing technical excellence (well focused, sharp, well exposed) and compositional choices that make the photograph memorable and those that clearly illustrate the karst feature or process being described.

Winners will be announced at the KWI Annual Awards meeting in March 2022.


  • Photographs must be in JPEG or .jpg format.  Resolution should be about 300 DPI.  Files size must be less than 10 MB.  Higher resolution images may be requested by KWI for use in outreach materials.
  • Photo submissions may be in horizontal or portrait format.
  • The photographer’s name must not be visible on the photo itself.
  • Submit image and description by email directly to
  • Submit one photograph per email.  An individual may submit multiple photos (up to 10, see Rules above) but may submit only one photograph per email.
  • The photographer’s identity will be stripped from the image for the judging process.
  • KWI reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is deemed inappropriate or does not conform to stated contest rules.