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Desinspiration

Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland

Located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland, the blue ice caves is a rare wonder to behold.

Formed from centuries-old ice from the slopes of Öræfajökull that has transformed into highly pressurized glacier ice containing hardly any air bubbles, the ice caves are almost transparent, except that it is filtered by the blue fraction of light visibl to the naked eye. However, this blue ice can only be seen under certain conditions, mostly during winter after a long season of rain, when the glacier’s surface layer has been washed away.

Streams of melt water from glacier ice pour enter the glacier through its crevices, creating bigger and bigger holes through the ice, and thus the ice tunnels or ice caves are formed. Sediments eroded by the streams remain in the muddy cave floor while the top of the cave is a genuine crystalline blue, an amazing sight to behold.

To reach the cave, visitors may pass through a 22-foot entrance on the shoreline of Skaftafell. The tunnel tapers to a tight squeeze about four feet high. Since ice caves are known to collapse rather easily, it’s safest to visit one only in the winter, when the ice is surely hardened.

Photography: 1, 2

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