Skip to main content

Photo Gallery: Life Inside a Glacier

Glacier lab location

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Hallgeir Elvehøy/NVE)

This photo shows the location of a glacier lab in northern Norway. It is known as the world's most claustrophobic lab and is dug inside Norway's Svartisen glacier.

Entering the glacier

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Researchers gather outside the entrance to the tunnel that leads beneath the glacier. In the tunnel system the scientists have direct access to the bed of the glacier, under 200 meters (nearly 660 feet) of glacier ice. However, they need to work quickly because the extreme pressures at the bottom of the glacier gradually shrink the tunnel as they work.

Tunnel surveying

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Surveying work inside the tunnel that leads to the glacier lab.

Digging tunnels

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Alexandra Messerli, Mathieu Tachon and Pierre-Marie Lefeuvre removing the packers (pipes) that were used to make the tunnels deep underground in the glacier.

Sampling ice

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Halfdan Benjaminsen/NVE)

Miriam Jackson takes ice samples with a chainsaw under the glacier.

Ice cave

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Researchers gather inside the ice cave. They are studying meltwater, glacier movement and other aspects that are difficult to do from the surface. Under a temperate glacier, the ice at the bed is at pressure-melting point, which is why the researchers wear good raingear.

Borehole

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Researchers clear a borehole up to the ice-rock interface that will be used in the experiments. Behind is clear glacier ice, and to the left is more sediment-rich ice. The boreholes that are being cleared out will be used to pump water up to the glacier bed and then see what effect this has on the glacier.

Clear and cloudy ice

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson)

Interface between the clear glacier ice and the sediment-rich layer below

Ice crystals

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson/NVE)

Ice crystals obtained from 200 m below the surface of Engabreen.

Subglacial ice

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson)

More subglacial ice uncovered by the researchers' efforts.

Time-lapse

glaciers, glacier melt, glacier research

(Image credit: Miriam Jackson)

A time-lapse camera is set up to film the closure of the ice tunnel.