Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Completed Search for Edison Ice Caves Part 2; found!

Trips/trails in the western coast of the U.S. (loosely follows the Pacific Time Zone)
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by RyansTBLS » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:51 pm

Me on the wrong road.
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The right road.

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The Ice Cave, the dog and I.
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Outside the second cave.
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Inside the second larger cave.
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So last year, did some mild offroading looking for Edison Ice Caves on some FS roads. Several decades ago it was an international attraction. Then about a couple decades ago, it was disappeared to protect bats. No signs of bats, but looks like bears hibernate there in the winter, so no detailed instructions on how to get there. :finger: Spent a few days, found the main cave, and then a larger cave as well. I'll post more pictures as I get them. :safari:
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by Cable810 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:07 pm

That's pretty cool!!
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by Trail X » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:44 pm

So maybe I missed it before. What is the significance of the caves?
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by RyansTBLS » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:55 pm

The significance for my family was that my dad and aunt went there as little kids with my grandparents back when it was a tourist attraction, and then the immovable caves were disappeared.

The reason it was an attraction, is that the caves continue down for quite a ways, and what causes the ice in the back of them is there is an underground glacier. The conclusion we've come to spending almost 10 years searching for them, pouring over old maps, and so on. Is that it appears to be a network of lava river tubes, with most of them collapsed, but fed from a deep much larger tube that likely holds a glacier. The caves are partially collapsed tubes, that lead to the bigger one (hypothetically) and therefore allow access the collapsed points don't. The series of caves themselves are safe to explore, but I'd be weary of going in to the main tube were to be found. Finding that these caves link up, supports the original theory and our own.
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by Trail X » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:41 pm

Very cool. I've never heard of an underground glacier. :work:
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by RyansTBLS » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:25 pm

That's what makes it so fascinating! :woot: I have to presume there are others, but not sure how'd you go about finding them. :scratch:
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by Trail X » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:56 am

Apparently the proper English term is ice cave. Seems they can act as cold air traps, which is why they are able to stay colder than the average surface temperature. Quite interesting.
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by RyansTBLS » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:31 pm

Kind of. In this case the old lava river tubes, which pushed through the ground and created them, are now filled with actual glaciers, that continue to push through the ground expanding them. We have Ice caves out here in addition to these, and they're notably different. What I absolutely love about the geology of this region in Eastern Oregon, is that the internet is almost entirely worthless, with many features being poorly documented if documented at all. The USGS has done some work on Edison Ice Caves, but there results have been largely inconclusive. Apparently no one wants to spend time spelunking in the pucker brush. :slap: The easiest way to prove aside the existence of the underground glacier, is with core samples showing the blue glacier ice, over the white ice. Beyond that it's more based on the familiar lines of the glacier cut over the lines of the lava river tube. As the glacier pushes through however, there are some noticeable changes on the surface, including collapsed areas that raise up, or trees that die or collapse in a certain line. The trick is sorting it out from the naturally harder winters that the area continues to face. But once you're able to track the line (the link of the caves) the other patterns become more apparent and it becomes more clear why in the 1950s it was deemed an underground glacier beneath the ice cave, versus being another one of our many ice caves. :cheers: I personally would love to spend some more time out there to prove there is in fact an underground glacier versus an ice cave. I might need to draft some more TBs into that mission. :angry whip:
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by Trail X » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:37 pm

That would be a worthy expedition, I believe.

Ok, so I didn't understand that there was a difference. What I had read seemed to include volcanic tunnels as ice caves. But what you're saying seems to be a bit different. If the ice is indeed flowing through the tunnel, I'd agree, it sounds more like a glacier.

Sounds like a neat part of the country. Keep exploring.
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by RyansTBLS » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:49 pm

Will do! :salut: This whole area scared the heck out of the military and people coming across the Oregon trail. :safari:
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