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New 2023 Ice Cave Discovered In Vatnajökull

Journey into the “Big Mac” blue ice cave in Skaftafell

|September 13, 2023
Anhelina is a travel writer with over five years of experience specializing in Iceland. With a background in foreign languages and translation, she conducts in-depth research to provide readers with detailed insights into Iceland's landscapes, culture, and hidden gems.

Come with us on a journey to explore Vatnajökull's newest discovery for 2023 – the enchanting Blue Ice Cave in Skaftafell, named in honor of its first visitors!


Wondering about the name “Big Mac”? In Iceland, when a guide stumbles upon a new ice cave, they get the honor of naming it. This tradition celebrates the ever-evolving beauty of our glaciers. Each year, new caves emerge, each telling its unique tale. The story behind the Big Mac is as charming as the cave itself. Our first visitors to view the new ice cave were an American couple with the last name MacDonald. When they entered the cave, they were so enchanted that, seeing their fantastic reactions, we invited them to name this icy wonder. And thus, the "Big Mac" nickname was born.

This season is special. We're starting our tours a tad earlier than usual, with the first expedition set for September 18, 2023. This marks the earliest winter ice cave tour we've ever operated, making it a truly unique experience for our guests.

Arctic Adventures glacier guide in the new ice cave - Big Mac

Curious about the discovery? Last year, our guides noticed unusual water patterns between the Falljökull and Virkisjökull glaciers. A distinct stream flowing between these glaciers sparked their curiosity. Seemingly escaping from the glacier's heart, this wasn't just any stream; it ran uniquely between these two majestic glaciers, hinting at hidden surprises beneath.

Remembering this site, they returned after Iceland's typical end-of-summer storms. They persisted until they found a discreet entrance leading them to a blue ice cave. Expanding like a magnificent dome, it stretched deep into the glacier for an impressive 30 meters (98 ft)! The exploration culminated at a serene pool, which might freeze as winter sets in.

New Big Mac natural Ice Cave in Skaftafell

Each year, as September approaches, the dynamic landscapes of Iceland's glaciers offer us new mysteries. The formation of ice caves is a natural phenomenon resulting from the interaction of melting ice and the flow of sub-glacial rivers. As these rivers carve through the glacier, they leave behind these magnificent caves, each unique structure and beauty. Around this time last year, our team unveiled another such glacial masterpiece, 'Dolphin' Ice Cave, which you can read about here. This discovery, which began as an observation of an unusual water flow, culminated in unveiling of a 70-meter-long (230 ft) frozen tunnel. Such discoveries are a testament to Iceland's glaciers' ever-evolving beauty and mystery.

Arctic Adventures glacier guide inside the ice cave found in 2022, Iceland

Ready to embark on this adventure and see the new ice cave in Skaftafell? Join us and be among the first to explore the Big Mac Ice Cave on Into the Glacier Tour.

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