NIGARDSBREEN ICE CAVE, NORWAY
The photo shows a glacier pond in the glacier cave underneath the Nigardsbreen, Jostedalsbreen, Luster, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. Up until 2006, the Jostedal glacier had been advancing throughout most of the last decade, despite many other glaciers around the world retreating during the same period. It was in the autumn of 2007 that researchers discovered a large and pristine ice cave beneath the Nigardsbreen region of Norway’s Jostedal Glacier National Park. Jostedalsbreen has an area of 487 sq km and is 600m thick in some places. The main icecap and several outliers are protected as the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
The cave has a five metre opening into a grotto called by some an ‘ice cathedral’. Inside the cave the dome measures up to 8 metres in height, 30 metres deep and 20 metres wide. The cave has one main ‘hall’, with many details inside; these include structures that resemble neural networks, others that seem to be perfectly shaped holes, translucent ice, tunnels out in the open, and rocks frozen mid-movement. All these crystalline formations appear in deep crystalline blues, while the ceiling has large icicles protruding from it. The structures within the cave are constantly changing.
The formation of the cave has been attributed to a bi-product of glacial melting as a result of a steadily warming climate. Large amounts of water, melted from the glacier, erode the inside of the cave. The runoff from the erosion accumulates within the lagoon in the grotto; the lagoon further encourages melting as it slightly warms the air trapped within the cave.
http://atlasobscura.com/place/nigardsbreen-ice-cave-skb; http://www.westcoastpeaks.com/Peaks/nigardsbreen1.html; http://www.lonelyplanet.com/norway/bergen-and-the-western-fjords/jostedalsbreen-and-nigardsbreen#ixzz2AzA41hkU
Image credit: Guttorm Flatabø http://www.flickr.com/photos/dittaeva/3232155932/in/photostream/
More images here: http://www.pbase.com/tormodiv/ice_cave
This is an ice cave, known as “crystal Cave” on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. This snow, which is up to 1000 years old, 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. 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 water 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. This cave can only safely be accessed in winter, when the lagoon is thoroughly frozen over.
For more photos of ice caves see:http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/slideshow/stunning-images-europes-ice-caves-15909667
Photo courtesy of Christian Klepp
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