Travel Fire and Ice | Sri Lankan captures emerald blue ice inside Europe’s...

Fire and Ice | Sri Lankan captures emerald blue ice inside Europe’s largest glacier

2015 Dec 23

Whirling his arm in the air, a tour guide casts hundreds of sparks of fire on to the cold cave floor.

Above him, ripples of emerald blue ice tumble down, forming the interior of one of Europe’s largest glaciers.

These mesmerising photos were taken by intrepid photographer Suranga Weeratunga, 34, inside Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier.

They capture a stunning juxtaposition of fire and ice, as well as an array of intricate patterns and breathtaking colours.

Magical effect: A tour guide casts sparks of fire on to the floor inside Iceland's Vatnajökull Glacier, while surrounded by ripples of ice
Magical effect: A tour guide casts sparks of fire on to the floor inside Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier, while surrounded by ripples of ice
Emerald blue: The stunning photos were taken by intrepid photographer Suranga Weeratunga, 34, inside Europe's largest glacier mass
Emerald blue: The stunning photos were taken by intrepid photographer Suranga Weeratunga, 34, inside Europe’s largest glacier mass
Emerald blue: The stunning photos were taken by intrepid photographer Suranga Weeratunga, 34, inside Europe's largest glacier mass
Emerald blue: The stunning photos were taken by intrepid photographer Suranga Weeratunga, 34, inside Europe’s largest glacier mass

They also reveal thick layers of black volcanic ash on the rippled walls of the cave, which visitors can only enter during the winter.

Mr Weeratunga, from Sri Lanka, was not allowed to venture too far inside the glacier because of its unpredictable structure.

Instead, he set up his camera and captured a series of images of his guide performing a fiery display in the middle of the cave.

To create the incredible display, the guide placed steel wool inside a whisk, before wrapping the whisk on a wire rope and lighting it up.

He then whirled the burning steel wool in circles in the air, causing sparks to fly in all directions.

The striking snaps were captured by Mr Weeratunga last December.

Flying sparks: He then whirled the burning steel wool in circles in the air - while Mr Weeratunga captured the entire thing on camera
Flying sparks: He then whirled the burning steel wool in circles in the air – while Mr Weeratunga captured the entire thing on camera

Ash: They photos reveal thick layers of black volcanic ash on the cave's walls (top left), which are said to be unpredictable in nature

Ash: They photos reveal thick layers of black volcanic ash on the cave’s walls (top left), which are said to be unpredictable in nature

The photographer is among hundreds of tourists annually to brave the network of caves in Vatnajökull, also known as the Vatna Glacier.

As Europe’s largest glacier mass, Vatnajökull covers more than 8,100 square kilometres – or more than eight per cent of Iceland.

It is estimated to have a volume of 3300 cubic km, and there are several volcanoes located under the ice cap.

While the ice inside the south-eastern glacier is often a luminous blue colour, it can be fluorescent orange or even red when a fire is lit inside.

It can also change colour dramatically when the sun outside is rising or setting.

Ripples: Mr Weeratunga is among hundreds of tourists annually to brave the mass of caves in Vatnajökull, also dubbed the Vatna Glacier
Ripples: Mr Weeratunga is among hundreds of tourists annually to brave the mass of caves in Vatnajökull, also dubbed the Vatna Glacier

Entrance: As Europe's largest glacier mass, Vatnajökull covers more than 8,100 square kilometres - or more than eight per cent of Iceland

Entrance: As Europe’s largest glacier mass, Vatnajökull covers more than 8,100 square kilometres – or more than eight per cent of Iceland

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