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Karst science is a complicated research domain that touches upon the areas of geology, geochemistry, hydrology, geomorphology, speleology, paleoclimatology, biology, and archaeology. It requires the help of cave explorers and divers, as well as geologists, geochemists, mathematicians, and physicists expert in modeling. Each of these scientists contributes their particular view of the karst medium, scale of reference, concepts, and approach. However, the characteristics of field study sites play a major role in the conceptualization of karst and in the definition of study methods and methodologies. The specific case of bedding planes and fractures is examined here in order to show the different geological conditions prevailing in karst areas of Europe and North America that led to different karst philosophies, concepts, and study methods. Drawing upon their Alpine experience, European karst scientists developed investigations and study methods based upon tectonic features, fractures, and faults in carbonate rocks, whereas North American scientists, based on their different geological perspectives, focused more on the role of bedding planes rather than fractures.

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