Unraveling the Drivers Controlling the Transient and Seasonal CO2 Dynamic in a Shallow Temperate Cave
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Author/sFernandez Cortes, Angel; Martin-Pozas, Tamara; Cuezva Robleño, Soledad; Cañaveras, Juan Carlos; Saiz-Jimenez, Cesareo; [et al.]
Understanding the dynamics and spatial distribution of gases in the subterranean atmospheres is essential to increase the reliability of carbon balances in karst ecosystems or the paleoclimate reconstructions based on cave deposits. This scientific information is also very valuable for cave managers to ensure the safety of visitors and the conservation of the subterranean heritage. Through a comprehensive monitoring of the main air parameters in a shallow temperate cave, we decipher the physical drivers and mechanisms involved in the CO2 and radon exchange between the cave and the outer atmosphere, and how this process is triggered by the changes of local weather. Our results reveal that the biphasic infiltration (water plus air) in the network of penetrative structures from the overlying soil and host rock exercise remarkable control over the cave environment, delaying the thermal response of the cave air to the outer climate-driven changes and also the gaseous transfer between the ca...