Ice caves are a rare geological phenomenon. Ningwu ice cave, Zibaishan ice cave, and Wudalianchi ice cave are the most famous ice caves in China. We described each one in detail and carried out thermal-elastic modeling and heat conduction modeling to investigate the stability of the cave and the formation of ice deposit. In order to quantitatively study the mechanism of formation and preservation of the ice cave, we applied the FEM to model the heat exchange in the ice cave. The modeling results revealed that there is the seasonal asymmetric energy exchange. Heat energy is conducted inefficiently into the ice cave from outside and wall rock in spring, summer, and autumn. While in winter, heat energy is transferred very efficiently due to the air natural convection, thus cooling it down. We proposed that Ningwu ice cave and Zibaishan ice cave may be a self-regulating system, respectively. At Wudalianchi ice cave, airtight doors have been installed at these ice caves’ entrances. This actually prevents cooling in winter. We expect that no airtight door will be fixed at each ice cave’s entrance, and few people enter the ice cave before comprehensive and detailed studies, avoiding further affecting its natural conditions.
Part of the book: Earth Crust