Brussels, 30 September 2011
Rochefort, 01 October 2011
The International Symposium "Karst Research, Challenges for the XXIst century” will be dedicated to recent findings in karst research and important remaining questions or controversies.
|The two-volume book ‘Les cavernes et les rivières souterraines de la Belgique’ by Van den Broeck, Martel and Rahir (VMR), published in 1910, was a landmark that set the basis for karstological studies in Belgium. One century later, it is time to measure at an international scale the progress made and to look forward. The notion of ‘karst area’ first used for carbonate rock landscapes evolved to a global concept of rock dissolution creating subterranean porosity in widely varying scales of dimension and time. A new paradigm is upcoming with rock alteration as base for karst formation in all type of rocks and in a global concept of landscape evolution. In this context, bacteria also regain interest, as they could play an active role in karst formation.
Deep karst and paleokarst extend the geological timeframe and specify the role of karst in the diagenetic sequence, with direct impact on geo-energy resources. Models suggest different environments for karstification, compared to the most visible active karst in Belgian Paleozoic rocks.
Karst aquifers form the main groundwater resource, however presenting extreme spatial and temporal variability of water, solute, sediment and contaminant transport. Successes and pitfalls of modeling water balances, vertical transport in the vadose zone, hydraulics and evolution of conduit systems, and the role of tracer tests, do not only aid for sustainable exploitation of water resources but also for risk assessment, vulnerability mapping and climate change impacts.
Karstic processes, presently very active in Belgium, sometimes interfere with human activity. Collapses, sinkhole mobility, pollution due to waste water seepage are common events. Karstic constraints are mapped and considered in several studies.
The disciplines working in karst areas have broadened since karst is seen as an archive, not only for past human occupation but also for the former environment and climate. Detrital as well as chemical deposits are investigated and delivered already a huge amount of information about the sedimentological, topographical, environmental and climatic evolution and variability. Recent research on speleothems focuses on the increased resolution and improved chronology of continental palaeoclimate records.
Finally the karst environment and in particular caves are among the rare last places on earth were new territories can be discovered by humans, even in densely urbanized regions, giving access to a peculiar (bio)mineralogical content. Karst features and landscapes are among the most attractive but also vulnerable places on earth, requiring adaptive ways of management.
On day one, keynote lecturers will give an overview of recent knowledge on the genesis and the dynamics of karst areas and associated environmental geo-archives. Poster sessions will be dedicated to recent research in Belgium.
On day two field trip is planned to the Underground system of the Lomme & Wamme rivers in Rochefort.
It is an open meeting, therefore students, cavers, researchers and professionals are warmly welcomed to participate in the conference.
Friday September, 30 : Lectures and posters
09.00 : Welcome and registration.
09.30 : Opening speech.
09.35 : Tribute to VMR : Van den Broeck's life and contribution of the VMR book to Karst Science. Eric Groessens, Geological Survey of Belgium & Camille Ek, Université de Liège
Transfer of information - Belspo digitalisation programme: 'Les cavités et rivières souterraines de la Belgique' Van den Broeck, Martel and Rahir on line. Michiel Dusar, Geological survey of Belgium
10.00 : The ghost-rock karstification : a new paradigm. Yves Quinif , Université de Mons
10.20 : Karst in siliciclastic rocks. Luc Willems , Université de Liège
10.40 : Speleothems and palaeoclimates - towards more quantifications Dominique Genty, Lab. des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement CEA France
11.00 : Coffee break.
11.25 : Cave entrance deposits: interest for paleoenvironmental reconstructions and Prehistory. Stéphane Pirson, Région Walonne - RBIN
11.45 : Water resources in karst environment, impact on local societies. Chris Groves - Director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at the Western Kentucky University - USA.
12.30 : Lunch and Poster Session.
13.50 : Karst in evaporites : Dead Sea sinkholes.
Damien Closson, Royal Military Academy, Brussels
14.10 : CO2 in caves. Camille Ek, Université de Liège & Jean Godissart, Union Belge de Spéléologie
14.30 : Control exerted by karst on sustainable exploitation of the Dinantian limestone aquifer. Dirk De Smet, Tom Diez, VMW & Philippe Meus, Région Wallonne
14.50 : Deep karst around the Mediterranean due to Messinian crisis . Michel Bakalowicz, Université de Montpellier 2, France
15.35 : Coffee Break & Poster Session.
16.00 : Geological Engineering in karst, case studies. Petar Milanovic, Consultant in Hydrogeology
16.20 : Hydrogeological functioning of a karst system: the karstic system of Han-sur-Lesse. Isabelle Bonniver, Facultés Universitaires NDP de Namur
16.40 : Fluid inclusions in speleothems : a guide to isotope ratios in palaeo-rainfall. Tim Atkinson, University College London UK
17.00 : Karstic Risks. Olivier Kaufmann & Serge Delaby, Université de Mons
17.20 : Closing speech
17.30 : End of day one
Saturday October, 1st : Field trip on the Underground System of Wamme/Lomme rivers in Rochefort
The underground Wamme/Lomme river system : one century of karst investigation.
The Lomme and its tributary, the Wamme, are affected by sinkholes over a distance of 10 km upstream of the major resurgence at Eprave. The system crosses 'the Calestienne', i.e. the Devonian limestone border of the Ardennes Massif. One century after its first detailed description by Van den Broeck, Martel & Rahir, we will visit some of the most representative and characteristic features of this important karstic system and discuss their impact on local water resources :
Pré-au-Tonneau, Nou Maulin, Rochefort showcave, Thier des Falizes, Laide Fosse, Eprave spring.
For practical reasons, the field trip will be mandatory by bus. Note that the bus fare is included in the conference fee. There will be three meeting places to join the excursion bus :
- Brussels Central railway station, departure at 8.00 am sharp.
- Eghezée outlet number 12 on E 411 highway, departure at 8.45 sharp.
- Jemelle railway station, departure at 9.45 am sharp.