Upcoming Events

We are currently planning three S4 events. Please read below for more information.

1. Traditional S4 summer school in Xi'an, China (Summer 2023)

2. S4 Online (Winter 2021/2022)

3. S4 @ KR9 (July 2022)

Magical Landscapes

After a long deliberation, we are pleased to announce finally that the next S4 will be held in Summer 2023 and hosted by Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China! Because planning this event is still contingent on several factors related to the ongoing pandemic (see below), we will continue to monitor progress on the global health crisis and release updates as soon as practical. We anticipate that by late 2021, we should be able to finalize an event schedule, with details for students and early-career scientists on how to apply. Applications will not open prior to 2022, due to these contingencies, but you are welcome to contact the committee before then with any questions. We encourage anyone interested in attending to follow our website and social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram) for news and updates. In the meantime, please spread the word to students who might benefit from this unique opportunity to enrich their academic careers, connect with the research community, and experience the cultural treasure that is Xi’an.


Can’t wait until 2023? Neither can we! Due to the unfortunately long gap between formal S4 workshops, we have committed to providing two more opportunities to engage with and learn from the Speleothem Science community:


 1. S4 Online (Winter 2021/2022)


We will host a series of seminars in an online format, open to all who are interested. Attendees can hear presentations by invited experts, with whom they will be able to network in breakout sessions. Students will further have an opportunity to share their ongoing research and receive feedback from colleagues. Expect more details to be announced here by early summer!


 2. S4 @ KR9 (July 2022)


For those planning to attend Climate Change, The Karst Record IX (KR9) in Innsbruck, Austria, we will be collaborating on an Early Career workshop that should precede the main conference. Our focus will be to provide guidance to students looking to advance their careers and research capabilities in this discipline (a ‘mini-S4’, of sorts). We will announce details on the event, including how to participate, by mid-summer. 


We sincerely hope that this series of events can best serve our fellow colleagues and students under the circumstances. Please know that our decision to postpone the in-person workshop an additional year was difficult, but ultimately driven by two factors. First, there remains substantial uncertainty on how soon China (or any other potential host) will resume the consular services necessary to host international attendees, especially without quarantine mandates upon entry. Although we are optimistic for restrictions to ease over the next year, we cannot yet safely assume that a Summer 2022 workshop would be practical. Secondly, a number of conferences and workshops planned for 2021 have announced postponements until the following summer. Out of respect for those meetings and to avoid scheduling conflicts among students and invited experts alike, we concluded that a one-year postponement would be the best solution to maximize the efficacy of each event.


We’re looking forward to S4 Xi’an!


Surrounded by an iconic karst landscape and home to state-of-the-art laboratories, Xi’an Jiaotong University has been integral to the advance of cave and karst studies over recent decades. Its researchers, along with local collaborators at the Institute of Earth Environment (Chinese Academy of Sciences), have utilized speleothem paleoclimatology to elucidate the complex history of the East Asian Summer Monsoon1,2,3,4, culture and climate5,6,7,8, and Eurasian westerly systems9,10,11, while developing novel geochemical methods12, substantially improving 230Th-dating methods13, and contributing to the radiocarbon calibration curve14,15. Student attendees will hear lectures from international experts across a range of subdisciplines and will have a chance to present their own projects at poster sessions. A series of workshops will cover laboratory, field, and data analytical techniques, catered to student needs and designed to expand our collective toolbox as researchers. In addition, S4 2023 will include social networking events, cultural tours of the city, and a field trip to nearby cave and karst sites.


The modern city of Xi’an (pop. 12 million) preserves a rich cultural history, which extends at least to the 11th century B.C.E. (Zhou dynasty). With the founding of the Qin dynasty at the end of the 3rd century B.C.E., the region became central to the emergence of imperial China. It was during this time that China’s first emperor established Xianyang as the Chinese capital and built his famed Terracotta Army. Several decades later, the capital was moved across the Wei river to Chang’an (northwestern/central Xi’an) and became the original departure point of the ancient Silk Road. Other architectural marvels include the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, a 7th-century C.E. tower that preserved early Buddhist writings, and the 14th-century C.E. city wall of the Ming Dynasty, which stands today and forms the perimeter of Xi’an’s urban center. These sites and others may be visited by S4 attendees as part of our cultural tour.


Xi’an is bounded geographically to the south by the Qinling Mountain range, which divides north from south China and hosts numerous caves in its Proterozoic–Early Phanerozoic strata. Several studies from these caves have already been published—for example, Jiuxian Cave, Xianglong Cave, Dayu Cave, and Zhashui Cave. Our field trip will include a visit to at least one nearby cave system. We are eager to announce further details as they become available.


If you have any questions not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact the committee. We look forward to the return of S4 and hope we may provide positive updates over the next few months.




S4 Committee Members