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Numerical simulation of formation and preservation of Ningwu ice cave, Shanxi, China
Abstract and Figures
Ice caves exist in locations where annual average temperature in higher than 0 °C. An example is Ningwu ice cave, Shanxi Province, the largest ice cave in China. In order to quantitatively explain the mechanism of formation and preservation of the ice cave, we use Finite Element Method to simulate the heat transfer process at this ice cave. There are two major control factors. First, there is the seasonal asymmetric heat transfer. Heat is transferred into the ice cave from outside, very inefficiently by conduction in spring, summer and fall. In winter, thermal convection occurs that transfers heat very efficiently out of the ice cave, thus cooling it down. Secondly, ice–water phase change provides a heat barrier for heat transfer into the cave in summer. The calculation also helps to evaluate effects of global warming, tourists, etc. for sustainable development of ice cave as tourism resource. In some other ice caves in China, managers installed air-tight doors at these ice caves entrance intending to "protect" these caves, but this prevent cooling down these caves in winters and these cave ices will entirely melt within tens of years.
Figures - uploaded by Yaolin Shi
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