This book, part of the series Cave and Karst Systems of the World, begins with a review of the interaction between people and caves in Australia (including conservation), followed by descriptions of the spectacular cave diving sites, before comprehensively covering all the major carbonate and noncarbonate karst areas, subdivided by rock type and region, and including the origin of the caves. This is followed by broad overviews of cave minerals and speleothems, cave biology and cave fossils. Each section was written by one or more specialists in the topic and is illustrated by clear diagrams and superb colour photos. The book emphasises the unique aspects of the Australian karst, including the variability in the age of the caves (very old to very young) and the impact of isolation on the stygofauna, as well as the vertebrate fossils preserved in the caves. Written in an easy-to-read style, the book is a primary reference guide to Australian karst and represents a valuable asset for anyone interested in the topic, not only cavers and academics.
John A. Webb is an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Geoscience at La Trobe University, Melbourne. He has published extensively on Australian karst, particularly the Nullarbor and southeastern Australia, and has caved throughout Australia and overseas (although not so much recently). In 2013 the Australian Speleological Federation awarded him the Edie Smith Award for outstanding service to Australian speleology, and he gave an invited plenary speech on Australian karst at the 2017 International Congress of Speleology. His interests extend to geoarchaeology, including artefact and ochre sourcing, as well as the landscape evolution of archaeological sites. He also works on groundwater and contaminated site management, with an ongoing research project on improving treatment procedures for acid mine drainage. He has supervised over 30 PhD and 100 honours students in a variety of geomorphological projects.
Susan Q. White is a karst geomorphologist at La Trobe University Melbourne. She has published on Australian karst developed on Cenozoic limestones (including the Nullarbor) and Proterozoic dolomites (Bullita/Judburra). She has caved extensively in Australia and overseas. In 2015 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to science (especially speleology) and youth (Girl Guides). She chaired the ASF Publications commission from 2005 to 2019, has been involved in the Speleo2017 Congress, Conservation and Library Commissions, and was an Editor of Helictite (1998-2016). She was made a Fellow of the Australian Speleological Federation in 2015 for her service to ASF and is an Honorary Life Member of the Victorian Speleological Association. She has worked at several tertiary institutions in Melbourne where she has co-supervised Honours and post-graduate students. Her interests also include Geological Heritage and Significance, and she chaired the Geological Society of Australia’s Standing Committee on Geological Heritage (1994-2010) and GSA (Victoria)’s Geological Heritage subcommittee (1993 - present).
Garry K. Smith is an active speleologist, with more than 50 years of experience in Australia and overseas. He has held various qualifications as a Scouts caving instructor and examiner as well as 36 years of membership of the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Speleological Society, serving in various executive positions including the current president. He has published numerous articles and chapters in magazines and books, covering subjects about cave atmospheres, caving techniques, histoplasmosis, mineralogy, geomorphology and photography. Garry enjoys underground photography and has received numerous photographic awards.