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Scientific Research Centre "Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology"


Scientific Research Centre “Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology” (UISK) was founded on March 28, 2006 on the initiative of a large group of Ukrainian scientists – karstologists and speleologists, which was actively supported by N.V. Bagrov, the Rector of  National Taurida V.I.Vernadsky University and the Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, P.F. Godzhik, the Director of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and V.M. Shestopalov, a Secretary Academician of the Department of the Earth Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The Centre is a scientific establishment of double subordination (the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) and is a part of the structure of the National Taurida V.I.Vernadsky University as well as the Department of the Earth Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Among the main tasks of the Institute there are the following ones: the realization of fundamental, searching, and applied researches, including interdisciplinary ones in priority directions of speleology and karstology, the development of organizational, economic, and social conditions for complete usage of Ukrainian scientists’ potential, working in this sphere, and also the training of young scientists and the development of international scientific cooperation in studying of karst and caves.

The Institute bases its activity on the scientific, applied, and information heritage of a whole series of specialized karstological and speleological departments and scientific schools, which used to exist in Ukraine at different periods:

  • The Complex Karst Expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958-1963) and the Department of Karstology and Mud Flows of the Institute of Mineral Resources of the Academy of Sciences of the  USSR (afterwards the Ministry of Geology of the USSR – 1958-1971; Director: the Candidate of Geological and Mineral Sciences B.N. Ivanov);
  • Faculty of Geography of Taurida National V.I.Vernadsky University and its karstology and speleology laboratory (1971-2006; supervisors: the  Doctor of Geological and Mineral Sciences V.N. Dublyansky and the  Doctor of Geographical Sciences B.A. Vakhrushev);
  • Karstology and Speleology Team of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1979-1992; director: the Candidate of Geological Sciences A.B. Klimchuk);

and also on cooperation within the framework of the Institute activities of the specialists in the sphere of speleology and karstology, working in other scientific establishments of Ukraine and adjoining states.
The creation of the Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology in Crimea is presupposed by both extremely broad development of karst here (about 84% of the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) and caves (more than 1000) and long-term and firm traditions of karstological and speleological researches in Crimea. The Institute is the scientific centre of the national scale, uniting scientific brainpower, working in all the karst regions of Ukraine and beyond its borders, taking an active part in the international scientific cooperation in the sphere of karstology and speleology.

The main tasks and directions of activities

Integration of leading scientists of Ukraine, coordination of karstological and speleological researches, training of scientific workers. Being the interdepartmental scientific-coordinating and information centre in its sphere, the Institute develops different forms of scientific cooperation. The Institute personnel consists of both staff members (11 in 2007, including 2 Doctors of Sciences and 5 Candidates of Sciences) and members working on a voluntary basis, who take part in the organization and coordination of scientific researches and are included into the staff of the Institute when new projects appear. On the whole the Institute personnel includes 41 scientific worker, including 10 Doctors of Sciences and 11 Candidates of Sciences, specialists in the sphere of geology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, engineering geology, mineralogy, geophysics, microbiology and other disciplines.

The members of the Institute are in the administrative  bodies of the Ukrainian Speleological Association, International Speleological Union, Karst Commission of the International Geographic Union, UNESCO IGCP-513 Project “Global Studying of Karst Water-Bearing Horizons and Water Resources”, editorial boards of a series of leading international specialized journals (Acta Carsologica, International Journal of Speleology, Journal of Cave and Karst Science, etc.).

The Institute pays special attention to involving of students and postgraduate students of Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University, and also the members of Crimean Mountain and Speleology Club on the basis of TNU into research activities. At present four Candidate of Sciences and three Doctor of Sciences theses in karstological and speleological research areas are being prepared by the Institute members.

To provide the coordination and discussion of the outcomes and actual problems of karst and cave research the Institute has initiated the annual holding of international scientific conference “Crimean Karstological and Speleological Readings: the State and Problems of Karst and Cave Research” on the basis of Taurida National University, the first of which will take place in April, 2008.

The development of the scientific infrastructure, consolidation of the scientific information in the sphere of karstology and speleology. The Institute  conducts systematic activity at the creation and development of modern scientific information infrastructure. Its main component is the integrated digital depositary system of main scientific and technical information, providing the creation, storage, processing, search, and effective usage of scientific and technical data, access to international networks and bases of scientific and technical information, consolidation and reanimation for scientific and productive usage of materials of karstological and speleological researches of previous years in Crimea, Ukraine, and CIS, as well as the materials of researches of public speleological organizations. Depositary system uses network and GIS technologies and includes electronic databases, cadastres, digital library of specialized literature, ports of the authorized access to international databases, information systems and scientific publications. The basis of main scientific and technical library on karst and speleology, which now contains more than 7000 volumes has been made out of the Institute members’ personal collections of specialized literature and donations of the scientists and partner organizations of different countries. The Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology library has been put on the list of 6 world centres of karst and cave documentation of the International Speleological Union (UIS). The work in the sphere of electronic cataloging and transfer of the paper literature into digital formats is being carried out, as well as in the sphere of organization of the authorized network access to the library and other resources of the Institute for scientific workers and students.

In the development of the Institute field and laboratory instrument base the means of karst and cave mapping, underground water routing and natural processes monitoring are given the priority at this stage. In cooperation with partner organizations the Institute creates field scientific permanent stations in some of the most outstanding cave objects of Crimea and Western Ukraine. They serve as a testing area for monitoring the parameters of the environment and processes in karst and caves and realization of complex, systematic, and detailed researches for the solution of fundamental and applied scientific tasks.

In the area of the international scientific cooperation the Institute has an access to a whole series of modern laboratory and analytical resources (electronic microscopy, isotope geochemistry, absolute dating of wandering sediment in the caves, etc.).

Fundamental and applied researches. Among the priority scientific directions of the Institute there have been adopted such ones, in which Ukrainian scientists occupy leading positions at the world scientific arena, and which have the potential of substantial influence on the wide range of the Earth sciences and solution of the actual practical problems of karst territories:

  • Hypogene karst/speleogenesis: theoretical basis, regional generalizations, special and applied aspects (hydrogeology, formation and projection of karst oil and gas and ore deposits; the danger of dip);
  • Theory and methods of the reconstruction of the natural conditions of the past through the complex karst researches, isotope and geochemical emission and the dating of the cave sediments; creation of a new regional scale of the pleistocene events chronology for the South Eastern Europe and Black See Region;
  • Integrating theoretical fundamentals of karst geogeology and geomorphology, karst evolution theory development;
  • The role, morphology, and functioning of the epikarst zone of the karst massifs;
  • Development of the scientific fundamentals of nature management, nature protection measures and the assessment of the anthropogenic influence on the environment for karst regions and caves taking into consideration their specific features; scientific support of cave usage projects;
  • Studying the mechanisms of dip formation, improvement of the scientific approaches and methods of the assessment of dip danger on the karst territories;
  • Paleontology of cave sites of Ukraine;
  • Studying the influence of karst environment on the conditions of life and activities of the population on the karst territories (economic, medical - geographic, social and economic, cultural and ethnic and other aspects).

The Institute members in 2006-2007 published 8 monographs and more than 50 articles, including the monographs, published in foreign countries (The USA, Poland, Russia), the articles in the leading rating international journals (Environmental Geology, Acta Carsologica, Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, International Journal of Speleology, etc.), the reports were represented at 5 international conferences. The Institute is the base organization in publishing the international scientific on-line journal of UIS “Speleogenesis and Evolution of the Karst Aquifers” (www.speleogenesis.info). In 2007 the Institute started the publication of the scientific journal “Speleology and Karstology”.

Ukraine’s Cave Cadastre. The Institute keeps Ukraine’s Cave Cadastre, which has been created in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Speleological Association, its speleoclubs and regional centres of caves registration and documentation, which provide searching and initial inspection of caves. The Institute fulfils the deposition of coming initial research materials, including the materials of cave topography, their registration according to the cadastre standards and transfer into digital form, entry into unified electronic database and  GIS- integration. Ukraine’s Cave Cadastre, containing the materials about more than 1500 caves, is a basis for the solution of key scientific and practical tasks, connected with the caves as a special type of natural resources.

Scientific ties and cooperation with other organizations. Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology provides close cooperation with Ukrainian scientific organizations of geology and geographic type (the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Institute of Geophysics of the NASU, the Geographical Faculty of the National Y. Fedkovich University of Chernovtsy) and main international organizations and karstological and speleological scientific institutes and centres in Slovenia, Romania, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Italy, France, USA, China and other countries. Particularly active connections are supported with the Institute of Karst Researching in Slovenia (Postoina), the National Institute of Cave and Karst Researching of the USA (Karlsbad, New Mexico), Perm State University and its Natural-Science Institute (Russia), Kungursk Karst Station of URO of the National Academy of Sciences of Russian Federation, the Department of Earth Sciences of Silesia University (Katovitze, Poland), the Institute of Mining Engineering and Technologies of New Mexico (Socorro, USA), the Department of Geology of Minnesota University (USA), the Institute of Speleology of Romania (Kluzh), and the Department of Geological Engineering of Khaseteppe University (Ankara).

The Institute plays role in the international programmes of integration of karstological and speleological researches. It is the head organization in the development of coordinating and information web-portal of UIS “Speleogenesis Network” (www.network.speleogenesis.info) and global Internet database on karstological and speleological bibliography KarstBase. Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology is one of the founders of the International Network of the Karst and Cave Institutes (ICKRIN), which includes 15 institutes and centres from 10 countries.
At present together with  some foreign scientific centres the basis of a large international project on hypogene speleogenesis is being worked out, in which the leading role belongs to Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology. The Institute is defined as the head organizer of the International Conference “The Hypogene Speleogenesis and Hydrogeology of Karst of Artesian Basins”, which will be held in Ukraine in May 2009 according to the programme of the International Year of the Earth Planet (UNESCO-IUGS), under the aegis of the International Speleological Union and UNESCO IGCP-513 Project “Global Studying of Karst Aquifers and Water Resources”.