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In the mountains of the Shanxi province in China, is the country’s biggest ice cave—an 85-meter deep bowling pin shaped subterranean structure set into the side of the mountain. Its walls and floors are coated with thick layers of ice, while large icicles and stalactites stretch from the ceiling to floor. The Ningwu Cave has the unique ability to stay frozen throughout summer even when the outside temperature climbs into the high teens.

Across continental Europe, Central Asia, and North America are many such ice caves where winter lasts all round the year. The majority of these ice caves are located in cooler regions, such as Alaska, Iceland and Russia, where the year-long low temperature helps keep the caves naturally cool and frozen. However, ice caves also exist in warmer climates.

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The Ningwu Ice Cave in China. Photo credit: Zhou Junxiang/Image China

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