Let’s be honest… All of us have had our share of fun with bubble wrap. Many of us have even been fortunate enough to enjoy snow. But only a few lucky people have experienced the beauty of a melting glacier. But what if we could somehow amalgamate all these experiences together? Welcome to the Ice Caves…
Located in a frozen lagoon inside the Svínafellsjökull Glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland, the Ice Caves are a modern-day marvel, reminiscent of something one would find in a Jules Verne novel. Ice Caves are formed as a result of water channeling inside the glacier in the form of glacial mills or Moulin. The entrance of the cave is through a 22-foot hole in the shoreline of the glacier. The farther you go inside the cave the tighter the walls get, finally ending at a height of four feet.
With a blue ice roof structure resembling bubble wrap, the glacier moves at a speed of about 1m a day over the rough mountainous terrain, causing deep vertical cracks on the walls of the cave called crevices. These crevices let-in daylight lighting an ice tunnel.
The highly-pressurized glacier ice contains almost no air bubbles. The lack of air makes it absorb light, appearing as though the ice is colored. The blue ice particularly can only be seen in winter after long periods of rain when the surface layer of the glacier has been washed away, magnifying the crevices.
Generally ice caves are very unstable and can collapse at any time, but in the winter cold temperatures harden the ice rendering it safe (particularly for daring tourists). Though constant cracking sounds inside the cave will continue to be heard every time the glacier moves.
This sound inside the caves can be a terrifying experience and not one for the faint-hearted, yet it doesn’t seem to stop tourists from visiting this fairytale Ice Kingdom.