Glacier Caves travel into the eternal ice

Photos and text by Madlaina Walther

www.madlainawalther.com

Last year and this year I had several opportunities to visit glacier caves. As much as it is scary to stay below thousand of tons of ice as much it is fascinating to see all these hues of blue and green and grey and the patterns and structures of the ice...

Patterns and colours...

But how are glacier caves formed? It's a little bit complicated and includes some physics... To make it simple there has to be some running water which melts a hole into the glacier. Then, during summer, there is warmer air outside the glacier and cooler air inside. Because the cooler air is heavier an air stream emerges which melts more and more of the ice and this is how the ice cave gets bigger and bigger.

One of the caves from the outside... This one is already collapsing and therefore not very safe anymore.
Some ice cubes and fantastic patterns of ice and frozen dust in layers...
We named this ice cube "the Toblerone" after the famous Swiss chocolate...
Do you see the man's face in the negative space?
"The frozen cathedral"...
Same place, little bit different point of view...

In the caves it is totally quiet... No sounds other than you breathing, your steps or the scroop of your clothes...

"The flying dragon"...

Do you also see the shark's head?

"The flying dragon" is about the size of a small plane...

A frozen waterfall in another cave... A true photographer's paradise!
Me inside "the aquarium"...

For scientists glacier caves are a very interesting place to learn more about the climate of the alps. They are even more important for this purpose than the ice from the poles.

With the threats of climate change it is expected that glaciers in the alps will have disappeared until around 2100...

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Safety advice: If you want to visit some ice caves, ask experienced people (e. g. mountain guides) about the conditions. Wear a helmet. Only go there in winter. Although it is unlikely, an ice cave could collapse at all times!

I'm a photographer specialized in landscape/nature and outdoor/action sports photography. I like to show the beauty of our surroundings as well as to document stories I consider as important.

Created By
Madlaina Walther
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© 2016/2017 Madlaina Walther ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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