Carbon dioxide and 222Rn monitoring of the atmosphere of a Mediterranean sink hole - spring (SE France) during two hydrological cycles (from September 2004 to September 2006) showed seasonal variations with very high concentrations during summer (greater than 6% and 20 000 Bq/m3, respectively). Gas dynamics in caves often show seasonal variations. Meteorological parameters (barometric pressure and temperature mainly), cave geometry and fracture networks control exchanges between the cavity and outside atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and 222Rn may have different sources (atmosphere, soil, bedrock, deep gas diffusion, in situ oxidation of organic matter and, in some caves, the key role of swift underground streams). For a CO2 origin, 13C measurements on water and gas samples taken into the cavity suggest a superficial origin. Radon-222 appears to be locally produced and transported by biogenic CO2. Further investigations will be carried out in order to study the relationship of gas-level variations with barometric pressure variations and piezometric level fluctuations within the aquifer.



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