Karst Geomorphology

Research group:
Laura Tîrlă, PhD
Virgil Drăgușin, PhD Researcher (3rd degree)
Ionuț Mirea, Researcher, PhD student
Teodor Cojocaru, MSc student

Aim and objectives:
Morphogenesis and dynamics of karst systems addresses a particular research field in Romania, a niche with an excellent potential in revealing certain paleoclimatic episodes, and also in explaining different tectonic-geomorphological features. Typical functioning of hydro-karst systems interconnects surface and underground environments in a synchronous evolution. Water is one of the main natural resources which infiltrates in karst terrains, thus having a major transfer capacity of biogeochemical compounds within this environment. Therefore, a good knowledge of underground conduits and monitoring water quality are extremely useful.

In recent years, the importance of speleothems as multi-proxy terrestrial archives has increased worldwide, as investigation methods and means have developed. The interest for paleoclimatic studies through speleothem analysis has emerged in Romania, in complete accordance with the need of acquiring more detailed data and information, correlated and structured at regional and global levels.

The Romanian karst research is organized on two major directions, which share a tight connection – karstology and speleology. The current generation of researchers has pushed the two sciences on a new step forward, involving U-series dating, stable isotope analysis, crystallography, mineralogy, etc.

The karst geomorphology working group of AGR aims at in-depth knowledge and extended research of karst by the following approaches:

  • Correlations between carbonate rocks features and karst systems development;

  • Comparative analysis on the geomorphology of surface karst assemblages;

  • Quaternary climate variability in Romania reflected by speleothem analysis;

  • Importance of speleothems in investigating the tectonic and geomorphological evolution of carbonate platforms.

External collaborations/partnerships ensure the access to specialized laboratories, highly performant, which allow speleothem dating and stable isotope analysis.

A key aspect is the and participation of students in current research activities and results publishing, with the aim of training new young specialists in the research domain.