If you plan to visit an ice cave in the near future, but you don’t know much about them, you’d benefit from learning some things before you go on your adventure. This includes the features that they must have in order to qualify as ice caves and the different types of tours that are available to you.
What Is the Difference Between Ice Caves and Glacier Caves?
There are two main types of them. Those that form in rock, yet they contain ice all throughout the year, are known as ice caves. There are often extremely large ice formations that you’ll find on the ceilings, floors, and walls in the cave.
Those that form in ice are considered to fall under the category of glacier ice caves. When meltwater flows through glaciers, it will create a glacier ice cave.
Interesting Facts About Ice Caves
Caves tend to be well insulated and have constant temperatures that reflect the average for their region. Those winter lows and summer highs don’t really have an effect with these underground spots. The cave passage shape can create a trap for the cold air that sinks in this tube during the winter and stays cold all summer.
Since they have wet surfaces and ice is transparent, there usually is a gorgeous light show going on in them. There are many ice caves in the National Parks in the United States. One of the top locations would be Mendenhall Ice Caves of Juneau, Alaska. They are a stunning part of this region and one that many locals and tourists visit every year. You can go on a hike through the Tongass National Forest, one of which is a four-mile trek through this largest temperate rainforest that features towering hemlock and sitka spruce trees.
Some glacier caves have been formed by geothermal heat coming from the hot springs or volcanic vents that are under the ice. One of these that is considered an extreme is the Kverkfjoll glacier cave that’s in the Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland. This measures in at 1.7 miles long and it has a vertical range of 1,722 feet.
There are several common depositional formations in ice caves. These include stalagmites, curtains, stalactites, and flowstone. Most of these form when water flows or drips into the cave, and you can’t see the crystal faces. When ice freezes from the water vapor it can create some more unusual forms like hexagonal crystals and hairlike strands.
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