Cave Temperature and Management Implications in Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, USA
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Cave air temperature was measured at six locations in Lehman Caves (USA) for one year at hourly intervals. Lehman is a show cave in a national park, treasured for its geological and biological resources. The two monitoring locations that are off of the tour route and, also, relatively distant from the cave’s entrances displayed nearly constant air temperature during the year. The other four sites, along the tour route, show daily temperature variation as well as annual fluctuation. After visitation levels decreased in the autumn, cave temperatures lagged but eventually reached an equilibrium which demonstrates recovery in the quiet winter. The mean annual air temperature inside the Lehman Caves is significantly higher than outside (1.9 °C; 20%) which points to an anthropogenic impact. A first-order analysis indicates that anthropogenic energy consumption in the Lehman Caves—which contributes to temperature rise—is about evenly divided between lighting and human presence. The study demonstrates that cave lighting and visitation levels have important implications for responsible management of this geoheritage site.
Cave climate; Cave management; Great Basin National Park; Lehman Cave; Nevada, USA
Cave Temperature and Management Implications in Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, USA.