Karst Geomorphology Field & Numerical Techniques

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are based out of Hamilton Valley Field Station, located on the border of Mammoth Cave National Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. See Logistics page for more information.

June 25-July 1, 2022

Overview: Karst Geomorphology Field and Numerical Techniques is a hands-on course intended to prepare attendees to interpret and communicate information about cave and karst systems. Attendees will gain skills and knowledge in the areas of field observation and measurement, as well as numerical modeling techniques that can be used to describe and investigate geomorphic settings and processes.


Location: Hamilton Valley Research Station near Mammoth Cave National Park with numerous field trips into and around the Mammoth Cave System. This course is held at the Hamilton Valley Research Station near Mammoth Cave National Park.


Who should attend: Academic students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate geology, geography, GIS, hydrology, and similar programs; educators in science fields related to caves and karst; curious cavers; and anyone with a strong desire to learn new things.


What you should expect to learn: The primary outcome of this course is for you to be able to effectively communicate information about karst geomorphology using findings from field measurements and results from numerical modeling.


How the course will be conducted: Knowledge and skill will be constructed through a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises, individual and group student work, and discussion within the class. There will be strong emphasis on student development of tangible class products including numerical models, plots, tables, text documents, and images. Students will work on a karst geomorphology modeling project throughout the week that incorporates each of these components, and will present their results to the class on the final day. The course is available as a workshop, or for academic credit (either undergraduate or graduate). To earn college credit, a more extensive project will be planned, executed, and submitted electronically by August 1 following the course.


Topics covered: Basics of karst geology and geomorphology; the identification and interpretation of karst landscapes in the field and with geographical information systems; erosional processes in speleogenesis; field collection of geomorphic data; principles of landscape evolution modeling; and numerical modeling techniques in Matlab, Landlab, Python, OpenFoam, and other software packages.


What you need to bring: Students will need caving gear, a laptop, ruler, protractor, pencils, field notebook, and a camera or smartphone with camera. A complete list of required equipment and supplies will be provided to students prior to the course.

Instructors: Dr. Rachel Bosch

Bosch at Proctor Entrance.jpg

Dr. Rachel Bosch is on the Geology Faculty at Northern Kentucky University. They received a PhD in Geology at the University of Cincinnati where their dissertation combined field work at Mammoth Cave National Park with numerical modeling to investigate the physical and chemical processes that shape karst landscapes. They earned a BA in physics from Wesleyan University and an MS in geosciences from Penn State. Rachel is a fellow of the Cave Research Foundation for which they are an expedition leader and a co-founder of the Kids’ Caving Expedition. They received a Distinguished Service Award for their work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Karst Waters Institute, and most recently were awarded the Early Career Scientist Award by the Karst Division of the Geological Society of America. Rachel currently serves as treasurer for the GSA Karst Division and as the Carbonate Critical Zone and Society Working Group Leader for the Carbonate Critical Zone Research Coordination Newtork. Their current research focuses on developing open-source software with students to solve novel Earth Science problems, as well as developing that software to construct teaching tools for more equitable instruction.

CONTACT: boschr1@nku.edu