What He Found in Iceland’s Caves will Leave You Breathless

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.

Iceland Ice Cave 10

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.

Iceland Ice Cave 5

Iceland Ice Cave 9

These caves are often called the “Crystal Caves” and tours are available for those cold-tolerant adventurers among us.

Iceland Ice Cave 6

Iceland Ice Cave 4

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.

Iceland Ice Cave 3

Iceland Ice Cave 2

Iceland Ice Cave 1

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).

Iceland Ice Cave 16

Iceland Ice Cave 14

Iceland Ice Cave 15

Iceland Ice Cave 13

Iceland Ice Cave 12

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.

Iceland Ice Cave 11

Iceland Ice Cave 7

Iceland Ice Cave 8

In November, 2011, Vatnajökull became the setting for HBO’s popular television series, Game of Thrones.

(Photo Source: Behance)

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