The ‘Into the Glacier’ experience opened earlier this month, a unique and magical experience taking you deep into Europe’s second largest glacier – Langjokull. Stretching out over nearly 300 metres of man-made ice tunnels, groups are able to explore the inside of a glacier, 30 metres below the surface. But how did the project come to be and what does a trip ‘Into the Glacier’ involve?
Read on to find out more…
Located in the highlands of the midwest of Iceland, the impressive Langjokull (‘The Long Glacier’) is Europe’s second largest glacier, only behind Vatnajokull. Roughly 50km long and 18km wide the average ice is around 580m thick. Little water runs from the surface of the glacier although by sub-surface streams, Langjokull supplies the largest natural lake in Iceland – Thingvallavatn as well as lakes in the North of Iceland and the geothermal areas of the west and the Geysir area of the south. Langjokull is shrinking and concerns have been raised on the effect that global warming will have on the glacier, some experts predict that if the current rate of climate change continues, Langjokull may disappear completely in as little as 150 years.
About the ‘Into the Glacier’ project
Before the ‘Into the Glacier’ project began, only a very select group of glaciologists knew what lay beneath the surface of Langjokull. That was pre-2010, before Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrímur Örn Arngrímsson had the extraordinary vision and idea to take people deep inside the remote natural wonder through ice tunnels and show people the spectacular blue ice. Five years of meticulous studying, planning, modelling and tunnelling followed with the input of renowned geo-physicist Ari Trausti Gudmunsson. In 2015, the staggering engineering project was completed and the world’s first man–made ice cap glacier cave was unveiled to the world.
What is there to see?
Exploring the inside of a glacier is an incredible experience and offers a unique perspective to study glacial landscapes and processes as well as witnessing first-hand the affects and consequences of global warming. As you walk deeper into the tunnel system on a guided tour, you will be able to see how the age of the ice varies as the colour changes from white to deep-blue. The blue ice is far from the only attraction to see though so witness how the glacier has evolved by exploring its deep crevasses, moulins (glacier mills), ice layers and the different types of snow and ice.
How can you experience it?
Wandering through the ice caves tunnel system is only half the fun and getting to and from the entrance of the cave is an exciting and memorable journey in itself. Beginning at the roots of Langjokull, climb aboard an 8-wheel drive glacier truck which takes you to the peak of the ice-cap, some 1,200 above sea level. This journey allows you to witness the landscape of a glacier whilst offering you incredible sights. On a clear day it is even possible to see as far out as the Westman Islands. The Into the Glacier experience can be added to any Iceland trip organised by Discover the World Education so please discuss with your travel specialist if you would like to include this excursion as part of your itinerary.