Effect of water vapour condensation on the radon content in subsurface air in a hypogeal inactive-volcanic environment in Galdar cave, Spain

Año Publicación:  2013
Responsable: A. Fernández-Cortes et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
Atmospheric Environment, 75, 15–23


A. Fernández-Cortes, D. Benavente, S. Cuezva, J. C. Cañaveras, M. Alvarez-Gallego, et al.


Fluctuations of trace gas activity as a response to variations in weather and microclimate conditions were monitored over a year in a shallow volcanic cave (Painted Cave, Galdar, Canary Islands, Spain). 222Rn concentration was used due to its greater sensitivity to hygrothermal variations than CO2 concentration. Radon concentration in the cave increases as effective vapour condensation within the porous system of the rock surfaces inside the cave increases due to humidity levels of more than 70%. Condensed water content in pores was assessed and linked to a reduction in the direct passage of trace gases. Fluctuations in radon activity as a response to variations in weather and microclimate conditions were statistically identified by clustering entropy changes on the radon signal and parameterised to predict radon concentration anomalies. This raises important implications for other research fields, including the surveillance of shallow volcanic and seismic activity, preventive conservation of cultural heritage in indoor spaces, indoor air quality control and studies to improve understanding of the role of subterranean terrestrial ecosystems as reservoirs and/or temporary sources of trace gases.

Keywords: Radon anomalies, Vapour condensation, Gas diffusion, Underground cavities, Subsoil monitoring

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