Underground cryosphere

Underground cryosphere

by Renato R. Colucci, Dept. of Earth System Sciences and Environmental Technology. CNR-ISMAR, Trieste, Italy

High altitude karstic environments often preserve permanent ice deposits within caves, representing the lesser-known portion of the cryosphere. Since their main characteristics is to have ground-ice older than 2 years, many authors are prone to consider ice-caves as sporadic permafrost phenomena.
Despite being not so widespread and easily reachable as mountain glaciers and ice caps, ice-caves preserve several information about past environmental changes and paleoclimatic evolution. Global warming is rapidly destroying such important archives as here in the "Vasto ice-cave", southeastern Alps in the Canin-Kanin massif (2587 m a.s.l.) during summer 2017, one of the hottest ever in the Alps.

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