Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

WKU Geography & Geology Faculty, Staff & Students Participate in International Program

WKU Geography & Geology Faculty, Staff & Students Participate in International Program

Several faculty, staff, and graduate students of the WKU Geography and Geology Department recently attended the 17th International Congress of Speleology in Sydney, Australia where they presented research on a variety of topics related to caves, karst, and water resources.

 The International Union of Speleology conducts this international conference every four years at various locations worldwide. The conference brings together a diverse group of cave explorers, scientists, students, cartographers, photographers, and artists. The conference provided these groups an opportunity to present research; participate in photography, art, and map salons; visit vendor booths and exhibits; attend field excursions; as well as network and interact with professionals and research collaborators from across the globe. This year, the conference theme, “Caves in an Ancient Land” highlighted the geologic history of Australia while presenting various themes of modern speleological study and exploration.

 Attendees included faculty members Dr. Pat Kambesis, Dr. Leslie North, and Dr. Jason Polk of WKU’s Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES), and Crawford Hydrology Laboratory (CHL) Assistant Director, Lee Anne Bledsoe. Graduate student participants included James Graham (CHNGES), Autumn Turner (CHL), and Elizabeth Willenbrink (CHNGES). The research presented included the following oral presentations:

  • Origin of Enigmatic Cave of the Far Western United States. Dr. Pat Kambesis of WKU and Joel Despain of Cave Research Foundation.
  • Exploration of the Cave of Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico. Dr. Pat Kambesis of WKU
  • Evaluating Human-Environmental Impacts to the Karst Landscape of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam Using a Modified Karst Disturbance Index Methodology: Implications for Sustainable Tourism. Dr. Leslie North and Dr. Jason Polk of WKU and Vu Thi Minh Nguyet of the Vietnam Institute of Geological Sciences
  • Exploring Mechanisms and Consequences of Cave Roof Collapses Using the National Corvette Museum Sinkhole Case Study. Dr. Jason Polk, Dr. Leslie North, and Dr. Pat Kambesis of WKU and Ric Federico and Brian Ham of EnSafe
  • A Karst Hydrogeologic Investigation to Support Risk Assessment at Patoka Dam, Indiana. Lee Anne Bledsoe and Chris Groves of WKU and Kenneth Henn and Jackie Rowe of the US Army Corp of Engineers
  • Measurement of the Atmospheric CO2 Sink from Carbonate Mineral Weathering for Large River Basins: The Ohio River, USA. Autumn Turner and Chris Groves of WKU

 The WKU attendees also participated in an outing to the Blue Mountains and took tours at nearby Jenolan Caves. During these outings, WKU representatives were able to explore the unique Australian karst landscape and compare it to the karst landscape of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Dr. Pat Kambesis was also recognized as Best of Show and First Place Winner in the Cartography Salon for her map of Barrel Cave in Jackson County, Alabama.

CHL hosted an educational exhibit about fluorescent dye tracing at the meeting, which was well-visited and led to many in-depth discussions of previous research, advancements in methodology, potential collaboration and training opportunities, as well as the CHL scholar exchange program. Fluorescent dye tracing is one of the best methods available for studying groundwater flow in karst aquifers and is often instrumental in the protection and management of karst groundwater resources.

Both CHL and CHNGES are research centers within the Applied Research and Technology Program at WKU’s Ogden College of Science and Engineering. CHL is a leading institute both nationally and internationally for karst groundwater investigations offering professional consulting, fluorescent dye tracing products, analysis, training, and outreach to scientists,  environmental and engineering firms, and government agencies. CHNGES is an interdisciplinary center founded in the environmental geosciences with its focus at the nexus of climate, water, sustainability, and human-environmental interactions. The center houses multiple labs, including HydroAnalytical commercial water analysis lab and an eye-tracking and environmental education studio, focused on providing student training and professional services related to these topics to the community, industry, and its partners. 


Dr. Jason Polk, CHNGES,, (270) 745-5015

Lee Anne Bledsoe, CHL, (270) 745-9224

All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
President Caboni News
Gordon Ford College of Business
Ogden News
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Emergency Preparedness
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
7 charter members to be inducted into WKU chapter of SALUTE, national honor society for student veterans

History will be made on Nov. 29 when WKU will get its first chapter of SALUTE, a national honor society for student veterans. Seven charter members will be inducted into SALUTE at 5 p.m. in the Veterans Resource Center, 410 Tate Page Hall.

3 GIS alumni assist in post-hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico

Three alumni from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been assigned to Puerto Rico to assist in post-hurricane recovery efforts.

Former Police Officer Speaks to Entrepreneurship Students
Featured Articles
Former Police Officer Speaks to Entrepreneurship Students
Beta Alpha Psi Earns Superior Chapter Honors
Department Will Be Closed

The Department of Student Financial Assistance will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 22nd through Friday, Nov. 25th. The office will reopen on Monday, Nov. 27th.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 5/2/17