The ice caves in Skaftafell sometimes also called as Crystal Caves.These ice caves in the Icelandic glaciers are a truly mesmerizing wonder of nature.Ice caves are temporary structures that appear at the edge of glaciers.These stunning blue ice caves which stretch as far as the eye can see are one of Iceland’s national treasures.Some of the magic beauty of glacier ice lies under its outer surface. One either needs to strip the surface layer or go underneath it to see its real beauty.They look amazingly beautiful from the inside.The sand that is blown by the strong northern wind has enhanced the shape of the ice.This particular cave is located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell,Iceland.Shimmering clearest blue and stretching as far as the eye can see, this is one of Iceland’s famed crystal ice caves. The giant solid waves look frozen in time but they are slowly moving along as part of the Vatnajokull Glacier – which stretches across eight per cent of the island.The glacier caves are created by geothermal springs which run under the ice and drop to over 1,000 feet (330 m) below ground.
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 waterfall 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.The color and transparency of the ice caves has everything to do with time, pressure, and secrecy. The weather and sun with its damaging ultra violet rays transforms the outer surface of glacial ice into whitish ice.As the glacier travels and winds its way down the slopes of mountain ridges, the air bubbles trapped in the ice are squeezed out, and the size of the ice crystals increases, making it clear. The real beauty of the centuries old compressed ice of a glacier lies underneath the damaged outer surface.This intense blue color can be seen for example in ice caves and on floating icebergs that reveal their lower side when they have recently rolled over or split in two.Although the caves look like giant waves, which seem frozen in time, water actually moves down the huge Vatnajokull Glacier at a snail-like speed.Some glaciers do not move, others shift at a speed of up to 0.3 miles a year. On average glaciers move just millimeters over a 12 month period.With a surface area of 5,033 miles, it spans eight per cent of the country and is the largest glacier in Europe. At the glacier’s thickest point, the width of the ice is 3281 feet (1000 meters).
Sometimes the caves are very special, sometimes not as special, but become very special in the right light and conditions. Some caves we find are very stable and we can go in there in any weather, but others are less safe and we might not even go there at all, even if they are very beautiful.With a surface area of 5,033 miles, the glacier spans eight per cent of the country and is the largest glaciers in Europe.The fine grained sediments in the water along with wind blown sediments cause the frozen melt water stream to appear in a muddy color while the top of the cave exhibits the deep blue color. Due to the fast movement of the glacier of about 1 m per day over uneven terrain, this ice cave cracked up at its end into a deep vertical crevice, called cerrac. This causes the indirect daylight to enter the ice cave from both ends resulting in homogeneous lighting of the ice tunnel.
Nature at its best: Created by the awesome forces of the Vatnajvkull ice cap in the south of the volcanic island, the deep blue cave was formed by the glacier meeting the coastline.“The light shining through the ice made the caves seem incredibly magical and surreal.The cave is accessible through a 22-foot entrance on the shoreline. At the end it tapers to a tight squeeze no more than four feet high. The caves are only accessible in temperatures below zero, such as when there is water on the ground that needs to be frozen all over in order for us to walk into the cave.Tourists from across the world come to see the scene but visits stop from March because of the risk of the roof melting and collapsing. The best time to visit the caves is during the winter months.The magic of photographing this popular location in January is that the sun rises to the south and you can let it shine through the crystal clear ice just as it crosses the horizon.Many of the photographers visit this cave to fulfill their dream and will have memorable experiences in this Crystal Blue Ice Caves.At the foot of the enormous ice-covered Snaefellsjökull glacier we can find a hotel where one can take their residence during the visit,it is also the first hotel in Iceland to be awarded the Green Globe Eco-label.