Categories: Sci/Tech

Curiously Peculiar Ice Cave Freezes During Summer and Melts During Winter

What an icehole!

One of Mother Nature’s most intriguing mysteries can be found somewhere east of Coudersport in Pennsylvania. There lies an eight-by-ten feet hole that opens into a curiously peculiar abyss, about forty feet deep, that freezes during warmer months and melts during winter.

Take a look at the Coudersport Ice Mine. It is not like any other ice caves that remain frozen during winter and warm up during summer. Ice begins to form in spring and continues to increase in volume as temperatures rise. Meanwhile, ice in the mine thaws as heat dissipates and winter sets in, which is just about the time when ice caves are expected to freeze.

Quite a paradox, isn’t it?

Stalactites and stalagmites can also be seen inside the cave.

The opening to the 40-feet deep chasm will bring you spine-tingling chills.

Though the exact mechanism of this phenomenon remains unknown, a popular theory suggests that this occurs as a result of uncanny patterns of channels and crevices within the rock formation and the dynamics of air movement.


So this is how it happens. During winter, cold air enters the fissures, pushing the warm air from the previous summer further into the rock formation. The warm air accumulates and escapes through the ice mine, thus melting the ice that had formed. Come summer, the warmer air is drawn into the cracks and crevices, pushing cold drafts further in and trapping it within the pit. Ice forms as the cold air reaches the permeating groundwater, which is only present during the warmer months.

The proposed theory pinpoints the unusual fissures within the rock formation as the cause of the phenomenon.

Source: WikiSource

The odd cave was discovered in 1894 by John Dodd, a silver prospector. He also performed his own experiments, as reported in an article published in March 1913 in the paper Popular Science Monthly.

He says that two sticks of dynamite were placed about eight feet back into a crevice at the bottom of the shaft and fired without turning a stone or dislodging any earth in the shaft. A possible conclusion is that there is a cave underneath the mine large enough to absorb the shock of the explosion.

After further investigation, Dodd found crevices in the rock, of which he concluded brings cold air into the ice pit.

The Coudersport Ice Mine can provide a brief respite from the summer heat.

So the next time that you drop by in Coudersport, don’t forget to pay this curious cave a visit and get a whiff of that icy blast.

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