Annales de la Société géologique de Belgique Annales de la Société géologique de Belgique -  Volume 108 (1985)  Volume complet 

Colloque international de karstologie appliquée Liège 1984. Eine bilanz.

Karl-Heinz Pfeffer

Geographisches Institut. Universität zu Köln. Albertus-Magnus Platz, D-5000 Köln 41, Deutschland.


International Meeting on Applied Problems of Karst Terrains. A Statement.

The symposium referring to practice-orientated questions of Karst research, which took place at the castle of Wegimont near Lüttich from May 31th until June 3rd, 1984 showed a great international attendance. Manifold lectures demonstrated that Karst research is in no way a mere theoretic basic research. On the contrary, the lectures in a wide spectrum dealt with most different technical, planning-relevant and environment-orientated circumstances. The lectures were concerned with :

- problems in connection with building arrangements over karstified bed-rock which has no carrying capacity as a consequence of its hollow spaces;

- endangering of oil- and gasdrillings through karstified rock;

- difficulties in water supply and clear away of sewage in regions without surface-water;

- possibilities of water drillings in the phreatic zones;

- endangering of Karst- and ground water because of refuse pits, dust and industrial wastes over karstified, open, gap systems;

- problems with regard to objects of hydraulic engineering over water permeable subsoil;

- possibilities to exploit caves that are interesting for tourism while protecting the natural monuments at the same time.

Lectures whose starting points were all practice-orientated so that the title of the symposium "Karstologie appliquée" was perfectly entitled.

Now at the end of the meeting let us look critically at the lectures and discussions in order to win new stimulations for future meetings.

It appeared that the persons present were mostly famous specialists of basic research, who presented practice-orientated facts and the corresponding answers in their lectures. But here as well as in the discussions which followed the lectures the symposium showed a weak point. The persons present were scientists and after a practice-orientated introduction one tried to solve the problems scientifically down to the last detail as it is done in basic research. In reference to practical solutions, however, some scientifically most interesting questions are not relevant. But the discussion lacked experts (practical men) because the persons present were exclusively scientists.

Future meetings have to continue at this point. We have to take into account that administration and planning offices in their daily work are frequently confronted with many problems of immediate interest arising in connection with the Karst phenomenon, and these problems need practicable answers. These practice-orientated, unanswered questions can be transmitted to the scientists who, by means of basic research, can give an explanation and perhaps a solution. But only in the discussion with engineers and technologists a suggestion how to solve the problem can be given back to administration and planning offices.

Consequently at a future symposium three groups of persons should be present :

1. members of the national administration and of private planning offices who can demonstrate problems of immediate interest that wait for a solution;

2. scientists, who can point out the scientific background of those problems in accordance with basic research;

3. technologists and engineers, who work up the results of basic research and may suggest a practicable answer to the problems and the technical questions in connection with those.

Such a composition seems to be optimal for a future symposium. To achieve this, however, means to surmount great difficulties in organization. So even a gradual approach to the optimal composition of such a symposium has to be considered as showing the way. In this sense the symposium in Lüttich, where specialists dealt with practice-orientated questions and suggested answers to those questions, was a successful first step for the integration of basic research into practice-orientated application.

To cite this article

Karl-Heinz Pfeffer, «Colloque international de karstologie appliquée Liège 1984. Eine bilanz.», Annales de la Société géologique de Belgique [En ligne], Volume 108 (1985), Volume complet, 305-306 URL :