The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 56 Number 2: 64-69 - December 1994

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Food Preparation Activities and the Microclimate within Mammoth Cave Kentucky
L. Michael Trapasso and Kelly Kaletsky


Numerous studies have claimed that the microclimate of a cave system remains constant through time and is approximately equivalent to the mean annual temperature of the surrounding region. Mammoth Cave is not only the largest mapped cave system in the world, but also the only one that operates both a kitchen and a restaurant deep inside. This situation offers uniqueness to this research. The stability of the microclimate of Mammoth Cave has never undergone extensive investigation. The Snowball Dining Room area was chosen to measure the microclimate of the cave in relation to food preparation and human presence. Three portable weather stations containing a temperature/humidity probe and a datalogger were placed in various locations along three passageways intersecting the dining room. A randomization process was used to determine when and where the data were collected in each passageway. Hourly temperatures and relative humidity readings were taken everyday for five months. Both graphic and statistical analyses show relationships between the data and distance from the dining room.

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