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Mystery of Antarctica's 'Blood Falls' solved

Posted on Wednesday, 26 April, 2017 | Comment icon 8 comments

Antarctica's 'blood falls'. Image Credit: National Science Foundation / Peter Rejcek
Researchers have made a new discovery in relation to one of Antarctica's most unusual natural features.
First discovered back in 1911, the disconcerting blood-red color of Antarctica's aptly named 'Blood Falls' has remained a topic of scientific intrigue and debate for years.

Originally believed to be the result of red algae, the strange coloration was later found to be due to iron-rich brine in the water which turns red when it makes contact with the air.

Now following a new study by researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College, evidence has been found of an extensive salt water source beneath the Taylor Glacier which could explain where this briny water is actually coming from.

To find it, the team used a special type of radar to track the flow of water in to the falls.

"While it sounds counterintuitive, water releases heat as it freezes, and that heat warms the surrounding colder ice," said UAF glaciologist Erin Pettit.

"The heat and the lower freezing temperature of salty water make liquid movement possible. Taylor Glacier is now the coldest known glacier to have persistently flowing water."

Source: | Comments (8)

Tags: Antarctica, Blood Falls

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by switchopens on 26 April, 2017, 18:29
Yay science!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Parsec on 26 April, 2017, 19:42
Whichever the reason, it has to be a wonder to witness live
Comment icon #3 Posted by Sundew on 26 April, 2017, 21:40
When "Light days" just won't do.....
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker on 27 April, 2017, 9:09
I'm wondering what the thing on the far lower left is in the pic UM used for their news article... Looks like a ball, or maybe some kind of buoy.
Comment icon #5 Posted by timewarrior on 27 April, 2017, 11:45
I still say it's witchcraft.
Comment icon #6 Posted by BeastieRunner on 27 April, 2017, 18:11
Glad I'm not the only one ... looks like a buoy to me.
Comment icon #7 Posted by crystal sage on 18 May, 2017, 2:48
This bit is interesting...
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker on 18 May, 2017, 9:51
This has me thinking about the various icy moons and dwarf planets.... Some say that there'd be no life there, because of no sunlight, and no surface oxygen source. But right here under these glaciers we have almost the same environment, no sunlight, no oxygen... and it has many different types of microbes living in it.

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