The important infrastructure of environmental control parameters existing in the El Soplao Cave enabled to study the maximum visitability using the simplified calculation tool CaViX (Cave-Visitors-X). Monitoring of CO2 concentration, presence of visitors, relative humidity and temperature, among other variables,
measured over years, have provided the ideal database to isolate events that can be studied using Cavix. The preliminary data processing includes the choice of events to study. Subsequently, the data are stored in single file multiple events, including daily visitors and the different variables to be considered. In El Soplao there are several monitoring stations distributed through various chambers, which help to recognize the evolution and recovery of the cavity air at different sites. The objective is to know the maximum number of visitors that the cave can support without altering its natural microclimate. This means that the cave air recovers it natural values of CO2, T after HR after the daily visits. The calculation has been simplified to ensure that Cavix tool is easy to use by the cave managers and only requires basic statistical knowledge. For the example, we have chosen the period from the 1st to the 30th August 2013, which corresponds to a month with high number of visitors. During this period, El Soplao experienced daily CO2 concentrations increases of up to 471 ppm and air temperature by 0.3 ºC. The number of visits during August was 50,437, just slightly higher than the maximum visitor capacity estimated at 49,350 visitors. However, using daily calculations further problems can be observed in terms of visitability limits. Air parameters recovery by natural ventilation the cave through artificial mining galleries and natural entrances is quite satisfactory, but an undesirable inertia in the CO2 content and air T has been observed when the visitor limits suggested by Cavix is exceeded (1,900 visitors daily). This fact indicates that the maximum number of visitors should be adjusted using the recommended values calculated by Cavix.
Keywords: Maximum capacity visitors; El Soplao; Cavix; CO2; temperature; web tool.