Nonglacial Ice

Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa

Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa is an ice cave and part of a larger cave system set in middle Triassic limestone in northern Slovakia. A cavity more than 70 metres high is partially filled by a giant body of ice with a surface area of nearly 10'000 square metres and a volume of more than 110'000 cubic metres. The cave entrance is at 969 m.a.s.l., 130 m above the bottom of the Hnilec Valley, 30 kilometres SE of the city of Poprad. Detailed Information on this remarkable ice cave is provided by the Slovak Caves Administration. The following photos were taken in August 2012 during a regular guided tour through the cave (photography is permitted after a 10 Euro fee is payed).

The average annual temperature of air in the great cavity on top of the main ice body is between 0,4 to 1,0 C (in February 2,7 to 3,9 C, in August around +0,2 C). The temperature in the bottom parts of the cave remains under the freezing point all the year round. The air temperature in the non-glaciated parts of the cave is a bit higher and fluctuates between +0.8 and +3.5 C. The air near the ice is somewhat cooler as latent heat gets consumed when small amounts of ice melt during summer. Generally the low temperatures within the cave are caused by cold air entering in winter and remaining trapped there during the warmer seasons.

Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Tours through the cave begin by descending to its bottom section. This is reached through an artificial tunnel through the ice.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Entering the empty space near the base of the ice body. Stratification within the ice is visible on the top right.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Visitors progress along the deepest section of the cave. The main ice body, visible on the left, is approximately 70 metres thick.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Water is entering in small quantities even at the lowest point of the cave and freezes due to subzero temperatures all year round.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Ice stalagmites and columns form in the chamber on top of the main ice body from external water percolating through the limestone into the cave system.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Small but complex ice formations very near the path on which tourists pass through the cave. The column at the centre is only a few metres high.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
The scale of a large ice stalagmite is given by visitors which can be seen on the lower left of the photo.
Dobšinská l'adová janskyňa
Ice formations near the entrance/exit to the accessible part of the ice cave.
Photos: Jrg Alean