Caves and Karst

of Florida

Instruction for this course will take place in several locations across Florida. Transportation will be provided through the KFS program. A starting location for the course will be determined at a later date.

July 28-August 3

Florida is a unique and extensive example that contains thousands of caves and world-renowned first magnitude springs. From the gently hills in north Florida to the flat, coastal shores of Tampa, a multitude of caves, springs, and sinkholes exist as part of one of the world’s largest and most productive karst aquifer systems. This course will explore the geologic, hydrologic, and geomorphologic setting of Florida’s karst landscape through the study of processes, landforms, and human-environmental interactions that shape the terrain. Students will study dry and water-table caves, springs, sinkholes, and additional karst features to understand the karst development and aquifer dynamics at work throughout the Florida peninsula. The course will explore how the influences of a karst framework, which includes the rock, water, structure, gradient, and time components, work in conjunction to form the karst features that comprise the Florida peninsula.


Dr. Polk is an Associate Professor of Geoscience and Director of the Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES) and the HydroAnalytical Lab .

He earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy. Dr. Polk's current research investigates climate change, water resources and sustainability, isotope hydrology and geochemistry, karst resource management, and global climate dynamics. His teaching interests include Karst Environments, Geomorphology, Environmental Isotope Geochemistry, Water Resources, and others.

Dr. Polk is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society. He conducts research in various karst landscapes all over the world, including the Caribbean, Florida Southeast Asia, and South America, with expertise karst geoscience, paleoclimate reconstruction, climate teleconnection dynamics, multi-proxy climate record analytics, hydrologic monitoring, water quality and quantity assessment, and isotope geochemistry. Dr. Polk serves as Chair of the Geological Society of America Karst Division.

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