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.
After passing the entrance, which is an archway from 12 to 18 feet high, the main course of the cave is soon left, and a branch is followed which leads to the Eis-kammer.  This ice-chamber consists of a grotto from 30 to 40 fathoms long, decked with ice-crystals, pillars of ice, and cascades of the same material, the floor being composed of ice as smooth as glass.  In the summer, pleasure-parties assemble in the cave and amuse themselves with the game of Eisschiessen, so popular in Upper Styria as a winter diversion.  The hotter the summer, the more ice is found in the Eiskammer, and the general belief is that it all disappears in winter.

The cave proper, which assumes stupendous dimensions in its long course, shows no ice.  It seems to be formed in the Muschelkalk of the Trias formation, and so far no limestone stalactites have been discovered.  It has not, however, as yet been fully explored.  The editor of the proceedings of the Austrian Alpine Club gives a reference to Scheiner, ‘Ausflug nach der Hoehle der Frauenmauer,’ (Steiermarkische Zeitschrift, neue Folge, i. 2, 1834, p. 3.)

At Latzenberg, near Weissenstein in Carniola, there is another ice-cave, described by Rosenmueller.[125] It is entered by a long dark passage in which are pillars of ice arranged like the pipes of an organ, varying from the thickness of a man’s body to the size of a straw.  All these are said to melt in winter.  Farther on are two other passages, one of which passes upwards over Stufe, and is coated in summer with ice; the other has not been explored.

Near Glaneck in the Untersberg, not far from Salzburg, is a cave called the Kolowrathoehle, of which a description is given by Guembel in his great geological work on the Bavarian Alps.[126] It is a spacious cavern, opening in a steep wall of rock above the Rositenschlucht between the Platten and Dachstein-kalk.[127] An ice-current rushes from within, and ice is found on the threshold, becoming more prevalent in the farther recesses of the cave.  The lower parts are tolerably roomy, and masses of ice of various shapes are found piled one upon another, lighting up with magical effect when torches are brought to bear upon them.  Guembel believes that the cold currents which stream into the cave from the numerous fissures in its walls are the cause of the ice; and though this is the only known ice-cave far and near, he imagines that the icy-currents which are frequently met with in that district, and in the Hochgebirge, would be found to proceed in reality from like caves, if the fissures from which they blow could be penetrated.

Behrens[128] describes two ice-caves near Questenberg, in the county of Stollberg, on the Harz mountains.  They both occur in limestone, and are known as the Great and Little Ice-holes.  The one is close to the village of Questenberg, and consists of a chasm several fathoms deep, so cold that in summer the water trickling down its edges is frozen into long icicles.  The opening is large and faces due south, and yet the hotter the day the more ice is found; whereas in winter a warm steam comes out, as if from a stove.  The other cave is farther into the mountain; it is spacious and light, and very cold in summer.

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