The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 52 Number 1: 45-51 - June 1990

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Meteorological Observations of Ice Cave, Trout Lake, Washington
Kyle Martin and Robert R. Quinn


Ice Cave is a segmented lava tube that traps cold air during winter permitting the development of ice speleothems. Four separate daily visits from January 1986 through July 1987 allowed weather data collection in this cave.

Winter visits in 1986 and 1987 revealed cool temperatures of -4C and +1C, respectively in the stable cave interior in response to differing weather regimes. Spring and summer observations in 1987 indicated a transitional gradient of temperature from cave entrances to the deep interior. Stability in temperature and relative humidity increased with distance into the cave. Small temporal variations in temperature (0.5-1C) and relative humidity were detected at all stations, indicating turbulent processes did on occasion extend throughout the cave. Ice speleothems manifested strong seasonal and spatial variation in growth and decay. From May through July of 1987 ice melted four times faster near the east cave entrance compared to the cave interior. Our spring and summer observations roughly agree with profiles generated by the Wigley-Brown model.

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