Blood Falls: Vampire’s Delight?

Did this picture get your attention? It sure did mine!! If that isn’t one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen in nature, I’m not sure what is! Let’s see if this oddity is real, or a hoax.

BloodFalls01

The phenomenon you’re seeing in the photo is called “Blood Falls” and it’s located in Antarctica. Geologists led by Australian Griffith Taylor (a geologist and explorer) were surveying the area in 1911 and found it. They gave it its very appropriate name.

Blood Falls exits Taylor Glacier (behind it), drops five stories down, then flows into Lake Bonney which is more or less at its feet. The striking color was first thought to be the result of algae living in the water.

Seeing Red

Scientists today reveal that the color comes from microbes that live in the water beneath Taylor Glacier, where it has been trapped beneath the ice for 2 million years. The microbes live in an oxygen-free environment and metabolize the sulfur and iron there which results in their red color. Currently there are 17 known types of microbes in that environment.

BloodFallsMapThe water where the microbes live is actually a lake hidden beneath the ice. It sits about a quarter mile below the surface of the glacier.

Scientists are pleased that they can study the composition and characteristics of this hidden lake from the Blood Falls run-off. That means they don’t have to get involved in more costly and problematic drilling just to study the water.

Off-world Implications

Even though I love looking for cryptids, nature itself still manages to throw us some of the neatest and more bizarre spectacles that anyone could imagine! I also have to wonder what it means for finding life of any sort on other planets. I wish so hard that mankind would get busy with creating reasonable space-exploration vehicles (a la Star Trek) and dump the stupid volatile, uncomfortable craft we make today.

Anyway, did this picture give you the creeps at first?

References:

http://earthsky.org/earth/blood-falls-five-stories-high-seeps-from-an-antarctic-glacier

 

 

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