Karst Research Institute

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Inštitut za raziskovanje krasa, ZRC SAZU
Titov trg 2, SI-6230 Postojna
Phone386 (0) 5 700 1900
Tadej Slabe, Head

Phone386 (0) 5 700 1902

The Karst Research Institute is a part of the Scientific Research Centre (ZRC SAZU) at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU). The focus of the institute's research are both the specific Slovenian region of the Karst, or Kras in Slovene, as well as the karst as a geomorphological phenomena. It studies its hydrology, geology, morphology, ecology, microbiology and speleology, as well as the history of "karstology". The institute's researchers come from various scientific backgrounds, including geology, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, and microbiology, thus enabling a multidisciplinary approach.

The institute's research includes field studies, laboratory investigations and numerical modelling. It conducts both basic and applied studies. Several of the institute's researchers are lecturers in the postgraduate Karstology programme offered by the University of Nova Gorica, which in 2014 became the UNESCO Chair on Karst Education.


Karst is a landmark of Slovenia. Almost half of the country is karstic, with about 8,000 registered caves. More than half of the population is supplied by karst waters. The international term karst is derived from the name of the Slovenian region Kras, an area also regarded as the cradle of the scientific discipline karstology. This has become a complex multidisciplinary science, covering a wide range of earth sciences related to karst.

A long tradition of excellent research and a unique position at the heart of classical karst have established the Karst Research institute as one of the most recognised karstological centres in the world.

The institute's activities

The institute hosts a karstological library, one of the most complete of its kind, a laboratory specialising in water chemistry, a geological laboratory, and a lecture room with modern presentation equipment. Some of the recent research projects undertaken at the institute deal with the sustainability of water resources, the overlappings of natural and cultural heritage, the protection of drinking water resources, the climatic systems in karst caves, and so on.

The institute has a book series called Carsologica and has published a journal titled Acta carsologica. The series includes titles from various fields of karst research including (but not limited to) karst geology, hydrology, geomorphology, the history of the karst science biospeleology, engineering in karst, and development challenges in karst regions.

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