Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland.

[Footnote 117:  Pallas, Voyages, i. 84.]

[Footnote 118:  Teneriffe, by Professor Smyth, ch. viii., and Humboldt, Voyage aux Regions Equinoctiales; Paris, 1814; i. 124.]

[Footnote 119:  They afterwards discovered smoke issuing from the centre of this patch of stones; so that volcanic heat may possibly have had something to do with the disappearance of the snow.]

[Footnote 120:  ‘Ce petit glacier souterrain,’ Humboldt, l.c.]

[Footnote 121:  See p. 272 for an account of the underground glacier in the neighbourhood of the Casa Inglese.]

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On the Brandstein in Styria, in the district of Gems, there is an ice-hole closely resembling some of the glacieres of the Jura.  It is described by Sartori,[123] as lying in a much-fissured region, reached after four hours of steep ascent from the neighbouring village, through a forest of fir.  Some of the fissures contain water and some snow, while others are apparently unfathomable.  From one of the largest of these, a strong and cold current blows in summer, and in this fissure is the ice-hole.  Sartori found crimpons necessary for descending the frozen snow which led from the entrance to the floor of the cave, where he discovered pillars and capitals and pyramids of ice of every possible shape and variety, as if the cave had contained the ruins of a Gothic church, or a fairy palace.  At the farther end, after passing large cascades of ice, his party reached a dark grey hole, which lighted up into blue and green under the influence of the torches; they could not discover the termination of this hole, and the stones which they rolled down into it seemed to go on for ever.  The greatest height of the cave is about 36 feet, and its length 192 feet, with a maximum breadth of 126 feet.  Towards the end of autumn, the temperature of the ice-hole rises so much, that the glacial decorations disappear, and various wild animals are driven by the cold of winter to take shelter in the comparative warmth of the cave.  The elevation of the district in which this ice-hole occurs is about 1,800 German feet above the sea.

In Upper Styria, where the Frauenmauer overlooks the basin in which the mining town of Eisenerz is situated, an ice-cave has been explored, and a description of it has been given by certain members of the Austrian Alpine Club.[124] The Brandstein is spoken of as one of the peaks in the immediate neighbourhood; and as the cave previously described is stated by Sartori to be on the Brandstein, that district would seem to be rich in glacieres.  The cavern is most easily explored from Eisenerz, and on that side the entrance is 4,539 Vienna feet above the sea.  Its other outlet, in the Tragoess valley, is 300 feet higher.  The total length of the cave is 2,040 Vienna feet. 

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Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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