Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 63 Number 1: 3-8 - April 2001

A publication of the National Speleological Society

A mathematical model of air temperature in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Jonathan W. Jernigan and Randall J. Swift


Alterations made to the Natural (Historic) Entrance into Mammoth Cave over the past two centuries have resulted in disrupted atmospheric conditions in the Historic Section of Mammoth Cave. In an effort to understand atmospheric phenomena in this section of the cave, Division of Science and Resources Management personnel at Mammoth Cave National Park collected atmospheric data from various sites throughout the Historic Section of Mammoth Cave.

These data are used to construct a mathematical model that predicts air temperature at various sites within the cave system. First, an approximate mathematical model is constructed that could apply to any cave system with characteristics (such as cave geometry and the natural force driving airflow) similar to those in Mammoth Cave. Then, the regression analysis of atmospheric data and the use of the derived model allow the construction of a mathematical model that is specific to the Historic Section of Mammoth Cave.

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