The evolution of CO2 levels with and without human presence was studied in a selected site (Gallery Chamber) of the homothermic zone of the Balcarka Cave (Moravian Karst, Czech Republic) during the fall, a period of limited ventilation. There were recognized various factors controlling the cave CO2 levels under different conditions in the exterior and interior. When visitors were absent, CO2 levels were controlled by the advective CO2 fluxes linked to cave airflows and reaching up to ~1.5x10-3 mol s-1. These fluxes exceed by orders of magnitude the exchanged diffusive fluxes (up to 4.8x10-8 mol s-1) and also the natural net flux (from 1.7x10-6 to 6.7x10-6 mol s-1)imputing given chamber directly from overburden. The natural net flux, normalized to unitary surface area, was estimated to be 2.8x10-8 to 1.1x10-7 mol m-2 s-1, based on a perpendicular projection area of the chamber of ~ 60 m2. When visitors were present, the anthropogenic CO2 flux into the chamber reached up to 3.5x10-3 mol s-1, which slightly exceeded the advective fluxes. This flux, recalculated per one person, yields the value of 6.7x10-5 mol s-1. The calculations of reachable steady states indicate that anthropogenic fluxes could almost triple the natural CO2 levels if visitors stayed sufficiently long in the cave.
Lang, Marek; Jiří Faimon; and Camille Ek.
The relationship between carbon dioxide concentration and visitor numbers in the homothermic zone of the Balcarka Cave (Moravian Karst) during a period of limited ventilation.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol44/iss2/7