Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 65 Number 3: 160-173 - December 2003

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Detection of an airflow system in Niedzwiedzia (Bear) Cave, Kletno, Poland
Andreas Pflitsch and Jacek Piasecki


Analyses of radon gas tracer measurements and observation of the variability of thermal structures have long been thought to indicate the presence of weak air currents in Niedzwiedzia (Bear) Cave, Kletno, Poland. However, only after ultrasonic anemometers were installed could different circulation systems of varying origin and the expected air movements be observed by direct measurement. This paper presents: a) the different methods applied in order to determine the weakest air currents both directly and indirectly; b) a summary of hypotheses on the subject; and c) the first results that air indeed moves in so-called static areas and that visitors affect both cave airflow and temperature. First results show that even in so-called static caves or within corresponding parts of cave systems, the term “static“ has to be regarded as wrong with respect to the air currents as no situation where no air movements took place could be proven so far within the caves. Moreover, the influence of passing tourist groups on the cave climate could unequivocally be identified and demonstrated.

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