Buz Mağarası

Useful Information

Location: 3 km northeast of the village of Hallaç. On the southern side of the Küçük Ağrı (Little Ararat) Mountain.
(39.495945, 44.325036)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyLava Tube SpeleologyIce cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Doline: L=119 m, W=50 m, D=8 m.
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: İsmet Alpaslan (1995): Her Yönüyle Ağrı Tutibay yayınları.
Address: Helva Köyü Buz Mağarasi, 69000 Helva/Bayburt Merkez/Bayburt, Tel: +90-532-548-60-69. haceganevleri.com
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Buz Mağarası (Ice Cave) is one of several ice caves in Turkey. Located on the southern slopes of of the Küçük Ağrı (Little Ararat) mountain. Ararat and Little Ararat are volcanoes, the area is covered by lava flows and there are numerous lava tubes. The ice cave is of the cold trap type, a result of the collapse of the cave ceiling. A rather large part of the ceiling collapsed, forming an elongated doline with vertical walls. The depression fills with cold and heavy air during winter and also the adjacent lava tube. The water freezes inside and creates layers of ice, icicles and ice stalagmites.

It is thought to be a special combination of this cold air, which starts from the village of Aşağı Fly and comes from the bottom of the cave through the lava that extends to the cave, cools the interior of the cave and freezes the water that drips from the rock cuts on the ceiling of the cave. One of the most important features of the cave is that it is cold in summer and hot in winter. There is a continuous flow of hot and cold air at the door.

Actually the air flow theory is mostly nonsense. Often the idea is that air flow or wind cools water to make it freeze. Actually its just a cold trap, the heavy and cold air flows into the cave during the winter. When the outside becomes warmer it is simply trapped because of its weight. It works like refrigerators in supermarkets, which stay cold even if they are open on the top.