Extended abstract/short paper
for the international conference
Climate Change: The Karst Record (4th ed.)
Velika ledena jama in Paradana
Conservation of Nature
Zavod Republike Slovenije za varstvo narave/
The Institute of RS for Nature Conservation
Območna enota Nova Gorica/Regional Unit Nova Gorica
SI-5000 Nova Gorica
KEY WORDS: underground glacier, climate change,
the Paradana nature reserve,
Velika ledena jama (Big Ice Cave) in Paradana,
conservation of nature,
Trnovski gozd - upland or high karst massif,
Republika Slovenija - Republic of Slovenia, Europe.
The Velika ledena jama (Big Ice Cave) is one of the
most important parts of the Paradana Nature Reserve,
covering an area of 18 ha (1230-1099 m above sea level in
the surface, 565 m above sea level in the underground,
λ=45° 59' 17", φ=13° 50' 57"). It's name derives
from the area where fog often appears under Golaki
(1495 m -1480 m), the highest summits of Trnovski
gozd karst massif.
There is an extremely rich natural heritage within the
reserve. One which could be classified as rare even
on a universal scale.
THE PARADANA NATURE RESERVE
The most important point of interest of the reserve is the
intermingling of superficial and underground karst with the
remains of glacial activity and also temperature and
vegetation inversions. At an altitude difference of around
hundred meters the following belts occur (first described in
1906 by V. M. Beck): fir-beech ( Abieti - Fagetum
dinaricum), spruce (Piceetum subalpinum
dinaricum), willow-tree (Salicetum appendiculatae),
dwarf-trees and mountainous grass, mosses, snow and
glacier in the entrance to the cave system. Deeper inside
the cave system the ice is no longer present; approximately
every hundred meters the temperature rises by one degree
THE PARADANA CAVE SYSTEM
The Paradana cave system consists of three caves: Velika
Ledena jama (650 m deep, more than 4 km long;
Original drawing or painting (blackink and watercolour)
of the Velika ledena jama entrance part groundplan
Figure 2, longitudinal profile of the same cave, both
by Pavel Kunaver, 1917)
Mala Ledena jama (Small
Ice Cave, 65 m deep and 125 m long) and the so-called
Jama pri Mali Ledeni jami (Cave near Small Ice Cave,
25 m deep and 235 m long, all data from M., Nagode, 2002).
The connection among the caves has not been discovered, yet.
Morever, cavers have not yet discovered the bottom of the
cave system. The variety of the different passages some in
the top part covered by ice, others iceless, shafts, ox-bow
passages and sharply turning channels with strong draughts
is very interesting. The ice table fluctuation is
considerable, sometimes the passages into iceless parts of
the system are completely blocked.
THE UNDERGROUND GLACIER
Surface part of the glacier in the Vhodna dvorana - Entrance
Hall of the Velika ledena jama lowered for about 1 m in last
five years. Also a pothole opened in the eastern part below
the Grlo - Throat (low passage and step between the Vhodna
and the Velika ledena dvorana - Entrance and Big Ice Hall in
(Photograph 1: View from the Velika ledena dvorana
through the Grlo and the entrance part to steep scree at
Thousands of cubic meters of the cave ice was extracted and
exported wideaway (to Egypt even), from the second half of
the 19th century up to 1963, but the ice renewed regularly.
The natural ice table fluctuation is considerable in last
four decades, sometimes the passage from Vhodna and Velika
ledena dvorana is closed even.
On 23rd December, 2004 survey of underground
glacier with georadar SIR 2000 by GSSI (USA,
http://www.geophysical.com/) was done
results of the survey would be presented at the
IVth International Conference Climate Change: the
CONSERVATION OF NATURE
Glaciokarst depression and caves in Paradana were proclaimed
natural monuments and area around them nature reserve by old
commune of Nova Gorica in 1985. Entrance part of the big
ice cave was opened for public by Turistično društvo
Lokve - local tourist club in 1987.
Members of the club made new path across the belts of
mountainous grass, mosses and snow to the glacier. New path
with staircase was finished in 1988 after hard negotiations
between the club and the institute for conservation of
cultural and natural heritage.
The main actual problem is enlarged erosion at belts of the
willow-tree, the dwarf-trees and mountainous grass caused by
thousand of visitors, because there is only one path at
steep scree with big rocks. The scree is not consolidated,
so stones and rocks glide down periodically. Small rockfall
in autumn of the year 2004 and regular avalanches in the
winter 2004/2005 destroyed staircase at the entrance.
New design and construction of staircase after the design
from the belt of the spruce through the willow-trees, the
dwarf-trees, the mountainous grass and the length to the
entrance hall in the length of around 150 m and height of 30
m is the best solution for discontinuation of the erosion of
the scree, becouse proclamation of strict nature reserve and
closing of show cave is not possible.
In the Paradana nature reserve there is an extremely rich
natural heritage. One which could be classified as rare even
on a universal scale.
The tourist club is financially not strong enough to cover
expenses of design and construction of new staircase, which
is urgently needed.
A lot of work should be done for regulation of human impact
in the entrance part of the Velika ledena jama, for
* a concession contract between the Republic of Slovenia,
which owns land of the reserve and the caves and financially
enough strong managing organisation should be signed, but
the organisation should be found before.
* remote monitoring of human impact and natural processes
would be expensive and not easy, because there is electric current 5 km
away and mountainous landscape in not good for GSM or FM
transmissions of data from sensors and cameras at the
reserve to the receivers at Nova Gorica or Lokve, the nearest
town and village.
A proposal for discussion in the Conference,
very simple questions are -
- is oscillation of ice on the top of the cave glacier only a
natural phenomenon or
- are underground glaciers natural indicators of climate
But, answers on the questions are not simple.
V. M., Beck, 1906; Umkehrung der Pflanzenregionen in den
Dolinen des Karstes, Sitzungsber. K. Akad. Wiss. in
Wien-Math. naturw. Kl. Bd CVI, Wien.
I., Gams Ed, 1973; Slovenska kraška terminologija -
Slovene Karst Terminiology, (with Serbian, Croatian,
Macedonian, English, German and Franch terms), Ljubljna.
I., Gams, 1974; Kras - Karst, pp 1-360, Ljubljana,
I., Gams, 2004; Kras v Sloveniji v prostoru in času -
Kras of Slovenia in space and time, pp 1-515, Ljubljana,
Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU.
P., Habič, 1968; Kraški svet med Idrijco in Vipavo - The
karstic region between the Idrijca and Vipava rivers, pp
1-244, Ljubljana, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti.
P., Kunaver, 1917, Velika ledena jama v Paradani (Big Ice
Cave in Paradana) original groundplan and longitudinal
profile of the entrance part, blackink, watercolour, archive
of IZRK ZRC SAZU, Postojna.
A., Mihevc, I. Gams, 1979, Nova odkritja v Veliki
Ledenici v Paradani (kat. št. 742) -
New discoveries in Velika ledena jama v Paradani
(Cave Cad. No. 742), in Naše jame, Vol 20,
pp 7-20, Ljubljana, Jamarska zveza Slovenije.
M., Nagode, 2002; Najnovejše raziskave Velike ledenice v
Paradani in jam ob njej - The newest discoveries of the Velika
ledena jama v Paradani and adjacent caves, in Naše jame, Vol
44, pp 98-105, Ljubljana, Jamarska zveza Slovenije.
M., Nagode, 2002; Led v Veliki ledenici v Paradani - Ice
in the Velika ledena jama v Paradani, in Naše jame, Vol 44,
pp 106-112, Ljubljana, Jamarska zveza Slovenije.
D., Rojšek, 1994; Inventarisation of the Natural
Heritage, Acta carsologica, Vol 23, No: 9, pp
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A park ?, in Cave and Karst Science, Vol 21 (3), pp 93 - 96,
ISBN 1356 191X.
D., Rojšek, 2002; Inventarisation of Natural Heritage,
enlighten by geoecological model of kras/karst, in F.,
Carrasco, J. J., Durán and B., Andreo ur/Eds, Karst and
Environment, Proc. of the 2nd geol. symp. Cueva de Nerja, pp
267-272, Nerja-Malaga, Instituto de Investigación pri/at
Fundación Cueva de Nerja.
D., Rojšek, 2002-2005; The Conservation of Nature -
characteristical photos of selected case study: Velika
ledena jama in Paradana,
E., Silvestru, V. Boghean, 1992; Ultrasonic investigations on the
underground fossil glacier in the cave Ghe*tarul de la
Sc*ari*soara, Trav. Inst. Speol. "Emile Racovita", Vol 31, pp 151-155.
Figure 1. Groundplan of the Velika ledena jama
entrance part by Pavel Kunaver, 1917.
Figure 2. Longitudinal profile of the Velika ledena jama
entrance part by Pavel Kunaver, 1917.
Photograph 1. View from the Velika ledena dvorana
through the Grlo the entrance part to steep scree in
the surface), Daniel Rojšek, 2002-2005:
THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE -
- characteristical photos of
selected case study:
Velika ledena jama v Paradani.
Prepared by Daniel Rojšek 20th Jan., 2006.
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