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water

Speleologists in the ice

The fascination of the glacial caves inspired an explorer to write, “ The shapes of glacial caves are spectacular: smooth, translucid, blue-veined walls in which water cuts blades like enormous organ pipes, shafts that seem to have been shaped by enormous grinders, sinuous meanders like large albino serpents, long ice stalactites like fragile shining spears, covered with ice crystals that dissolve when one breathes on them… Strangely the shapes are similar in the glaciers all over the world, but every shaft is different because of the different colours of the ice: candid and granular or shiny and transparent like glass with darker veins of every shade of blue, with myriads of silvery air bubbles trapped within, or small stones and grains of dust that shine like gems… also the unique iridescent colours that change with different kinds of illumination that fill the shaft with a pearl like diffused light or a clear cold light-blue light, at times with a strong ultraviolet component that makes the ice tools and clothing and also the explorers’ smiles look curiously fluorescent. Water naturally plays the leading role, it may be an intermittent drip from a faraway trickle, the insistent babbling of a stream, or a silvery blade that slides like silk without making a sound and apparently without any movement, or even the dark threatening rumbling sound rising from the depths making the walls of the shaft vibrate, that seems to rise up from the tips of the crampons, conveying an unmotivated yet uncontrollable fear, or it can be a mass of white foamy water precipitating in a waterfall, whipping one’s shoulders and face violently, accumulating, swelling, roaring, whirling dizzily at the base, and then flowing between the narrow walls of a frozen meander, and then disappearing into the darkness, grumbling furiously…”

With the sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research
 
Eni S.p.A. - P.IVA 00905811006