Iceland Opens Man-Made Ice Tunnel in Langjokull Glacier

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The world’s largest man-made ice tunnel was recently dug out on the western slopes of one of the biggest glaciers in Iceland - Langjokull. The tunnel and cave system stretches for 550 meters into solid glacier ice at about 30 meters below the surface making it the largest man made ice structure in the world. This unique project, backed by the Icelandair Group and leading pension funds, will enable visitors to have a rare opportunity to see how snow is gradually compressed to become glacier ice.

Aptly named “Into the Glacier”, the experience is the brainchild of two Icelandic adventure tour operators - Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrímur Örn Arngrímsson, who wanted to take visitors into the heart of the extraordinary glacier ice cap, to see the magnificent “blue ice” which is buried deep beneath the surface.

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Work on the cave began in 2010, and completed early this year. It was official opened for visitors on 1st June 2015. Although its meant primarily to be a tourist attraction, the tunnel will also be used by researchers and students at the University of Iceland to measure ice movements over time.

The journey to the ice tunnel starts off with an epic trip in 8-wheel monster trucks to the entrance of the cave, which is located 1,200 meters above sea level. From there visitors are taken on foot on an hour-long tour exploring the tunnel where they will see crevasses, moulins, running water, ice layers and space between them, different types of snow and ice, and how the glacier evolves. The led lighted walls inside the tunnels are sheer-carved and hollowed out at various intervals along the tunnel to house educational exhibitions and provide information on the science of glaciers and the effects of global warming. There is even a small chapel where couples can get married.

The attraction is expected to stay open all throughout the year.

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Sources: Into The Glacier / Ice News. Photo credit: Roman Gerasymenko for “Into the Glacier”

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