Mystery of Antarctica's Blood Falls finally solved, but now there's a new mystery with ALIEN implications
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Blood Falls may be the creepiest phenomenon on Earth. There is a glacier in Antarctica that flows red with what appears to be blood. How is this possible? Scientists have solved this mystery, and in doing so, they have uncovered a bigger one.
Scientists have discovered at least 17 different microbes in the water of Blood Falls.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- In 1911, Antarctic explorer and scientist Griffith Taylor made an astonishing discovery. He observed a waterfall on a glacier that appeared to be flowing with blood. Not red-colored water, but actual blood. He named the phenomenon "Blood Falls" and the glacier was subsequently named Taylor Glacier.
In the decades that followed, scientists speculated what could be turning the water of blood falls so red. Logically, it could not actually be blood, so what was it? The consensus became red algae.
Although no experiments were conducted to prove the red algae hypothesis, it seemed like a logical culprit. Red algae are very common and can bloom when conditions are right. Water tainted with red algae is often described as being the color of blood.
Samples were finally taken, and in April 2017 a paper was published with the shocking answer.
Blood Falls gets its red color from oxygenated iron in the water.
Oxygenated iron is the same thing that turns blood red, which explains why the water at Blood Falls looks like blood.
Antarctica is rich in metals, such as iron and nickel, so it makes sense there would be iron deposits under its ice. However, it seems there is also a large lake of water under Taylor Glacier, an ancient lake that dates back at least one to two million years. In that lake lurks a bigger mystery.
Water samples revealed the presence of no less than 17 different microbes. The lake receives no sunlight, and there is little to no oxygen in the water. The water doesn't turn red until it reaches the air at the surface.
Blood Falls was discovered in 1911. Iron in the water taints it the same red as blood when it reaches the surface.
Scientists now know that for at least one million years, life has flourished isolated from the outside world, without sunlight and oxygen, surviving using a metabolic process that has never been observed before now.
The implications of the existence of such life are that something similar could exist on a distant moon or planet, such as on Europe around Jupiter or Enceladus around Saturn.
For now, the mystery of Blood Falls is solved, but scientists are anxious to learn more about the pristine, and seemingly alien ecosystem below Taylor Glacier, and what it implies for life beyond our world.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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