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1 February 2016 Massive Ice Loss from the Mauna Loa Icecave, Hawaii
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Abstract

We provide the first detailed documentation of a lava tube cave with permanent ice on the Hawaiian Islands. “Mauna Loa Icecave” had been surveyed in 1978; we periodically visited the cave and monitored temperature, humidity, and ice levels from 2011 to 2014. Perennial ice still blocks the lava tube at the terminal end, but a previously present large ice floor (estimated 260 m2) has disappeared. A secondary mineral deposited on the cave walls is interpreted as the result of past sustained ice levels. Airflow measurements, scallop patterns in the ice, strong temperature and humidity variations, and ice volume fluctuations indicate ventilation of the cave, which suggests that additional ice loss could occur rapidly. The scientific potential of the ice record remains to be explored, before it is lost.

© 2016 Regents of the University of Colorado
Andreas Pflitsch, Norbert Schörghofer, Stephen M. Smith, and David Holmgren "Massive Ice Loss from the Mauna Loa Icecave, Hawaii," Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 48(1), 33-43, (1 February 2016). https://doi.org/10.1657/AAAR0014-095
Received: 14 December 2014; Accepted: 1 July 2015; Published: 1 February 2016
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