Bloody Waterfall Antarctica
For some reason, it is mistakenly assumed that the world of Antarctica is a solid white silence consisting of snow, ice and hummocks. However, nature does not like monotony, preferring to create something unusual.
Bloody Falls, flowing from the Taylor Glacier, became such an object of attention. For almost a century, he was one of the inexplicable mysteries of nature that surrendered only to scientists of the twenty-first century.
Taylor Glacier Blood
From afar, a wide stream really looks like a bleeding wound. The red-orange mass flowing from a huge white glacier makes a lasting impression. It is hard to imagine what emotions Griffith Taylor, the discoverer of this natural wonder, experienced. The bloody glacier first appeared in 1911 to an Australian who made a research trip in the McMurdo Strait, part of the Dry Valleys.
Taylor Glacier Waterfall in Antarctica
The geologist, who saw the miracle of nature, decided that algae, somehow preserved in the bowels of the glacier, are colored in the red color of water. The researcher called the red stream falling from the height of a five-story building a Bloody Waterfall, and the massive ice cliff was called the Taylor Glacier.
If you look at modern photographs of the waterfall, we can assume that this is blood or even lava flowing down from a white frozen cliff. When viewed from the air, the stream pouring into the water under the glacier becomes like a capillary network piercing an orange spot.
Bloody Waterfall Antarctica
Water is oozing from a huge underground reservoir, lying at a depth of 400 meters under the glacier. It is assumed that the source is an ancient lake and extends four kilometers in length.
Surprisingly, the waterfall flows in the harsh climate of Antarctica, the ambient temperature does not exceed ten degrees with a minus sign. But here everything is simple, the waterfall is not ordinary, but with water, characterized by an increased concentration of salt. By the way, due to its salinity, the lake, which was once part of the ocean, could remain inside the glacier without freezing along with the rest of the water. It is located a couple of kilometers from the exit of water to the surface.
The emergence of Bloody Waterfall in Antarctica
And the lake appeared, according to scientists, from four to one and a half million years ago, when the level of the world ocean was falling and the lands of the Dry Valley were freed from under the water. The salt lake remained in the lowland, part of the water evaporated, thus increasing the salt concentration, and the Taylor Glacier gradually grew over the lake.
Opening the veil of secrecy
The American geomicrobiologist Jill Mikutsky undertook to solve the mystery of Bloody Waterfall. Having traveled to Antarctica, she took samples of “bloody” water. Having studied the samples, of course, I did not find any algae, but I found out that the water is an order of magnitude more saline than in the oceans, it does not have oxygen, but a lot of iron is dissolved. And in the water there are microorganisms.
How Red Waterfall Originated in Antarctica
It turns out that the lake, during a sharp decline in water and the subsequent sharp cooling, turned out to be locked in an airless space. And along with it in the capsule were microorganisms that lived on our planet a couple of million years ago. They survived, recycled all the organics at their disposal and adapted to existence without sunlight and oxygen. Their forage base became sulfites available in the lake.
The result was such a peculiar niche with ancient microorganisms, it is called the “time capsule”. At some point, a fault occurred, and the waters of the lake found a way out of the glacier. So there was a Bloody Waterfall, and its amazing color is obtained due to a chemical reaction. In fact, blood-like water is, in fact, a beautiful kind of rust.
Miracle of Nature – Bloody Waterfall in Antarctica
Water saturated with iron, coming to the surface from under the cap of the glacier, combines with oxygen, oxidizes and acquires an unusual bloody hue, giving the waterfall such an unusual look. Where did the huge iron content in the water come from? And this is all thanks to microorganisms that process iron and release reduced iron into the lake (from sulfate to sulfite).
Scientists were aware of the existence of ice lakes in the sixties of the last century, but they could not accurately take water samples. This had to be done so as not to disturb the fragile ecosystem of ancient lakes.
Bloody Waterfall, Antarctica
And the waterfall, which supplies lake water to the surface, has saved modern scientists from the need to roughly intervene in the life of the under-ice world.
Scientists managed to detect seventeen types of ancient microorganisms in the water, slightly different from modern “relatives”. Revealing the mystery of the Bloody Waterfall flowing from under the glacier allowed scientists to formulate a hypothesis according to which similar underground lakes inhabited by bacteria can exist on other planets and even on their large satellites.