Amazing Places

China's Ningwu Ice Cave Never Melts, Even During the Summer

If you, like some of us, like to spend your summers fantasizing about the snow, this massive Chinese cave is a place you need to know about. Ningwu Ice Cave is the largest one in China, and it has a cool trick up its sleeve: it stays frozen all year round, including in the blazing heat of summer.

Wannian Ice Cave, Shanxi, China

Ice, Ice Baby

Located in the mountains of the Shanxi Province in China, the Ningwu Cave is 280 feet (85 meters) deep and situated on the side of a mountain more than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) above sea level. Its walls and floors are literally coated with slicks of ice, with stalactites (icicles, basically) stretching from ceiling to floor. While it's believed to have been formed during the Ice Age some 3 million years ago, locals refer to as the "10,000-Year Cave."

Shanxi Province

Check Out Those Curves

The big question is: how does the ice never melt, even during the warmer seasons? According to scientists who study ice caves, one main reason is its structure and shape. Ningwu Cave is shaped like a bowling pin. This curvy shape consistently keeps cold air trapped inside, allowing it to stay frozen all year round. "It's almost biological, the way the ice cave environment maintains itself," Aurel Persoiu, a researcher at the Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology in Romania, told the BBC. To add even more flair to the experience, hundreds of colorful lightbulbs illuminate its icy walls. Now that's one way to escape the summer heat.

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This Chinese Ice Cave Never Thaws

Written by Sam Suarez June 15, 2017

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