Julien Ratel, a photographer in Reykjavik, Iceland, recently visited the Ice Caves of the country’s Vatnajökull glacier. The results of his visit are nothing short of absolutely stunning. Exploring the Northern Lights Ice Cave is more like exploring an alien world than anything on the earth.
Ratel chose the Northern Lights cave for safety reasons. He explored the cave early in the cold season so many of the caves were still under thaw.
These caves are often called the “Crystal Caves” and tours are available for those cold-tolerant adventurers among us.
The caves of the Vatnajökull glacier are formed by volcanic vents and geothermal heat escaping through the glacier. The brilliant walls are formed when ice melts and re-freezes to form the smooth, shiny surface.
At 3,100 square kilometers (1,100 square miles), Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Europe. The ice is, on average, 400 meters (1,300 feet) thick with some parts reaching a thickness of over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
The ice cap at Vatnajökull National Park hides several active volcanoes. Some have even experienced brief eruptions in the recent past. In 2011, the park’s Grímsvötn volcano erupted releasing a 20 kilometer (12 mile) high smoke plume.
In November, 2011, Vatnajökull became the setting for HBO’s popular television series, Game of Thrones.
(Photo Source: Behance)