Iceland’s ice caves

Stunningly beautiful.

I made a note to write about Iceland’s ice caves a few weeks ago. For I don’t know about you but previously I had never heard of them.

The Amusing Planet website offers details of these caves:

Ice caves are temporary structures that appear at the edge of glaciers. They look amazingly beautiful from the inside. This particular cave is located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. The centuries old ice coming down the slopes of Öræfajökull via Svínafellsjökull glacier has metamorphosed into highly pressurized glacier ice that contains almost no air bubbles. The lack of air means that it absorbs almost all visible light, apart from the blue fraction which is then visible to the naked eye. However, this blue ice can be seen only under certain circumstances. It can be seen in winter after long periods of rain when the surface layer of the glacier has been washed away. It can be seen in ice-caves like this one and on floating icebergs that have recently rolled over.

This cave in the glacier ice is the result of glacial mill, or Moulin where rain and melt water on the glacier surface are channeled into streams that enter the glacier at crevices. The waterfall melts a hole into the glacier while the ponded water drains towards lower elevations by forming long ice caves with an outlet at the terminus of the glacier. The fine grained sediments in the water along with wind blown sediments cause the frozen meltwater stream to appear in a muddy colour while the top of the cave exhibits the deep blue colour. Due to the fast movement of the glacier of about 1 m per day over uneven terrain, this ice cave cracked up at its end into a deep vertical crevice, called cerrac. This causes the indirect daylight to enter the ice cave from both ends resulting in homogeneous lighting of the ice tunnel.

There are many beautiful photographs available if you conduct a web search. Here are some examples.

Skaftafell-ice-cave-1[2]Seen originally here.

014a0c21f9559463ac4dcd3f1ebe7953This one above was originally seen here.

skaftafell-iceland-ice-cave-woe4-690x517And my final photograph is taken from here, together with the opening paragraphs.

glacier-crystal-caves-900x900Fortress Of Solitude: Unbelievable Crystal Ice Caves In Iceland

Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland

We crawl slowly on hands & knees into a long frozen chamber, under a brilliant cathedral of crystal blue waves. Superman would feel right at home in this ice cave.

When the Man of Steel wants to get away from the hustle & bustle of Metropolis, he flies to his “Fortress of Solitude” hidden in the Arctic. A magnificent crystal castle built using Krypton alien technology.

What if I told you Superman’s crystal fortress is real?

Deep under Iceland’s massive Vatnajökull Glacier, beautiful caves of ice are formed by rivers of meltwater.

Too dangerous to visit in the spring & summer due to a threat of collapse, cold winter temperatures strengthen the ice and make exploration possible.

A fellow photographer convinced me to go during my Iceland road trip.

What a wonderful world we live on!

8 thoughts on “Iceland’s ice caves

    1. I’m sure you are not alone with that concern. But I’m also sure that the dazzling surroundings would nullify any worries. I could only dream of what it would be like inside such a cave.

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