ICE CAVES – Dangers

Glaciers are like rivers of ice, and as they recede, ice caves can sometimes form inside them. Exploring an ice cave gives scientists a first hand look at the mechanics of a glacier, but it can be a dangerous business. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. This month, we’re celebrating ten years of broadcasts and 2,000 programs.

“Inside an ice cave it’s like being in a deep freeze. Basically, the cave temperature is about thirty two degrees, and the humidity is about ninety nine percent. If you’re not dressed right and you stay in it too long, you can have problems like hypothermia very easily.”

Glaciospeleologist Charles Anderson:

“There’s loose rocks on the ground, mixed in with ice and snow, and cavities that you could fall into if you’re unaware of these or don’t pay attention to the warning signs leading up to where these potential hazards could be.

“You’re walking underneath basically like about two to three tons of ice that could fall off, hanging from about three inches of ice. But eventually the weight of that and the summer air currents are gonna force that to fall. And you just hope you’re not underneath it when it falls.

“You take a risk anytime when you’re exploring volcanoes or caves or mountains or anything, you just accept it, but you also are very cautious. If you don’t think you can do it, you don’t try it. If you think it’s too dangerous, there’s another time to come back and do it, and don’t take any more chances than you have to.”

Additional Funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

ICE CAVES - Dangers

Studying an ice cave close up has its thrills as well as its dangers.
Air Date:05/10/1994
Scientist:
Transcript:

Glaciers are like rivers of ice, and as they recede, ice caves can sometimes form inside them. Exploring an ice cave gives scientists a first hand look at the mechanics of a glacier, but it can be a dangerous business. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. This month, we're celebrating ten years of broadcasts and 2,000 programs.

"Inside an ice cave it's like being in a deep freeze. Basically, the cave temperature is about thirty two degrees, and the humidity is about ninety nine percent. If you're not dressed right and you stay in it too long, you can have problems like hypothermia very easily."

Glaciospeleologist Charles Anderson:

"There's loose rocks on the ground, mixed in with ice and snow, and cavities that you could fall into if you're unaware of these or don't pay attention to the warning signs leading up to where these potential hazards could be.

"You're walking underneath basically like about two to three tons of ice that could fall off, hanging from about three inches of ice. But eventually the weight of that and the summer air currents are gonna force that to fall. And you just hope you're not underneath it when it falls.

"You take a risk anytime when you're exploring volcanoes or caves or mountains or anything, you just accept it, but you also are very cautious. If you don't think you can do it, you don't try it. If you think it's too dangerous, there's another time to come back and do it, and don't take any more chances than you have to."

Additional Funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.