Mt. Erebus Ice Caves
The ice caves compete with the iceberg for the most amazing Antarctic scenery so far. We traveled by Delta vehicle out to the Erebus Glacier Tongue, which is on the way to Cape Evans. The snow was deep which made driving difficult. Our fearless leaders avoided a couple of close calls and we made the entire trip without having to dig out the vehicles. We walked to the ice caves in groups of six. When I was not at the ice caves, I was looking for penguins. No luck, but there is still time.
Mt. Erebus is to the left of the photo above. You can see the first group walking toward the cave, which is marked by flags. The caves are formed where the glacier flow off Mt. Erebus meets the sea ice.
We followed the flags to the hole above. Which is actually the entrance to the ice cave.
You can start to see the crystal structures that make up the ceiling and walls of the cave. They are very fragile, so we were careful not to touch them. The blue color of the ice against the white of the crystals was gorgeous. The glistened off of the snow. As you can imagine, the photos do not capture the experience or the beauty.
The next photo is a view toward the back of the gave. You can see the blue “glass” walls reflecting off white crystal ceiling. I walked to the back of the cave through the narrow passage.
A close up of the wall highlights the blue color and the contrast between smooth wall and crystal formation
From the back of the cave, other folks in the group were framed by the light entering through the doorway.
The following photos are close ups of the crystalline structures found in the cave.
Looking out over the sea ice from the cave
And finally, my first icicle sighting in Antarctica!
In other exciting news, T.J. has arrived in Christchurch, NZ and will take a C17 flight to McMurdo tomorrow!!