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Research into the landforms of karst highlands in the middle latitudes began in the "Classical Karst" in the 19th century and has been marked by alternating periods of progress and stability since. In the beginning, the elementary morpho-types were recognized, in particular the circular closed depression defined as the "karst doline." Later the midlatitude karst forms were compared with those of other climatic zones, especially tropical humid karst. In recent decades many papers have been published on the morphometry, the fillings, and models of the evolution of the surface karst landforms. It has been emphasized that in the midlatitude karsts the morphogenesis is the result not only of karst solution but also of several other weathering processes such as cryoclastic (frost) action and other periglacial processes. Examination of the main scientific journals dealing with karst and other geomorphology shows that present day research in karst areas is mostly concerned with very specific subjects, such as speleogenesis, hydrogeology, sedimentology, geochemistry, mineralogy, cave biology, unusual landforms: only a minority of papers focus on karst surface landforms, and among these only a few attempt organic and comprehensive studies of the entire assemblage of relief forms in a karst morphounit. In reality, it is evident that the surface landform complex in a karst morphounit has to be considered in its entirety and that only such an integrated approach to this complex entity may bring significant progress in understanding. The landforms may be considered from different point of views, but always as a part of a holistic approach, in particular: a) in the geodynamic context of the evolution of the particular mountain group, b) as part of a complex geoecosystem, c) in the framework of models based on modern geomorphological concepts. Such comprehensive studies carried out by multi and interdisciplinary research teams applying the most modern techniques and methodologies will present stimulating challenges not only for progress in karstology but also in all the environmental sciences.
Trends in karst research, Surface landforms, Middle latitude karst, Karst morpho-units
English and Slovenian
Sauro, Ugo, "Landforms of Mountainous Karst in the Middle Latitudes: Reflections, Trends and Research Problems" (2013). KIP Articles. 88.