Kungur Ice Cave

Inside the labyrinth

Kungur Ice Cave is one of the largest gypsum caves in Russia and the largest by volume. She is laid in the thickness of karst carbonate-sulphate rocks comprising anhydrite, gypsum, gypsum anhydrite, dolomite, limestone and breccia of the same composition. There can be observed and explored the lower part of the Irensk level cut of Perm stage system - Ice Cave's, Shalashninsk"s and Nevolinsk's benches.

The cave is a sistem of labyrinths. The length is 5,7 km, the amplitude - 32 m, the area - 65,0 thousand m2, the volume - about 206.0 thousand m3, the altitude is 119.99 m. Kungur cave' feature is the dominance of grottos. Small caves and passages are less common. Geophysical studies revealed their unknown extensions.

Kungur Ice Cave has one floor, located at points close to the water level of the river Sylva. Analysis of the morphology of the Cave shows the special conditions of its formation and development. Conditions of its formation determine its specific water cutting: there are some 70 underground lakes of different sizes in the Cave, differ from one another in their conditions of nutrition and treatment. Their number depends on the season. The total area of lakes is around 7,5 thousand m2 which represents 11% of the area of all grottos in the Cave. The largest of the lakes is the Big underground lake in the grotto Peoples' Friendship that is situated in the excursion part of the Cave with an area of 1460 m2.

There is the cave system of furnace draft of air which determines its climatic features. The uniqueness of the cave microclimate is the availability of a complete set of climatic zones, which is a very rare thing for caves, especially gypseous:

1.zone of constant negative temperatures with significant variations in the values (ice is preserved permanently);

2. zone of constant positive temperatures, the corresponding to the temperature of karst massif

3. transition zone with large temperature fluctuations (negative temperatures in winter, positive in summer positive),there is seasonal glaciation in this zone in winter.

The features of traction air in the cavity determined the existence of a zone of constant negative temperature at the entrance to the Cave. Thus, the area surrounding the cave is located outside the development zone of permafrost.

The presence of a zone of constant negative temperature in the Cave identified ice forms richness of different origin. More than 120 kinds of different genetic types of ice formations were described in Kungur Ice Cave: watery (congested, segregative and ice-cement), sublimation (crystalline education) and sedimentary-metamorphic. Seasonal and perennial ice is the main attraction of the Cave.

Only Kungurskaya ice cave is inhabited by the main population of localized endemics - crustacean-krangoniks of Khlebnikov, dedicated to a particular subspecies Maximovich.

Kungur Ice Cave
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