Assessing the palaeoclimate potential of cave glaciers: the example of the scǎrişoara ice cave (romania)


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

January 2005


The ice block in Scarisoara Cave, NW Romania, is preserved due to unusual climate and permafrost conditions within the cave. The air temperature in the cave is governed by the winter cold, the cooling effect of the ice block, and only to a minor extent influenced by summer temperatures. At present, the ice block is slowly thinning, but the present‐day climate is sufficiently cold to preserve the permafrost conditions caused by the cold air trapped in the cave. In February 2003 a 22.5 m long ice core was recovered from the ice block. Approximately 200 ice layers have been identified by visual examination. Ice crystallographic analyses indicate a steady growth of ice crystals with depth and there is no sign of deformation. Carbon‐14 dates on wood‐related samples collected from a natural vertical exposure of the ice block indicate that the ice spans more than 1000 years. Observations on the exposure indicate that a basal melting phase may have occurred in the past.

Document Type