The mystery behind the blood-red waterfall in Antarctica

The mystery behind the blood-red waterfall in Antarctica

The water of the Blood Falls in Antarctica is crimson due to the presence of iron in the form of microspheres that are 100 times smaller than human red blood cells.

Blood drop on Taylor Glacier.  Photo: Peter Rejcek

Blood drop on Taylor Glacier. Image: Peter Rejcek

A crimson waterfall gushes from the foot of Taylor Glacier. A team of researchers announced the mysterious discovery behind the red water of Blood Falls in Antarctica in a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, new atlas reported on June 27.

The strange phenomenon was first discovered in 1911 by geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor. He thinks the cause comes from red algae. Only half a decade later, researchers determined that the crimson color of the water was caused by iron salts. Most notably, the water is very clear at first, but quickly turns red after it flows from the ice, as iron oxidizes when exposed to air for the first time in millennia.

However, the new study examined water samples and found iron in unexpected ways. In theory, it is not a mineral, but a microsphere that is 100 times smaller than a human red blood cell.

“As soon as I looked at the image under the microscope, I noticed that there are a lot of iron-rich microspheres. In addition to iron, they also contain many other elements such as silicon, calcium, aluminum, sodium. They are very diverse,” she said. Ken Livi, co-author of the study, said. “To be a mineral, the atoms must be arranged in a special crystalline structure. Microspheres do not have a crystal shape, so previous methods used to examine solids could not detect them.”

A few years ago, scientists discovered that the Blood Falls water originated as a lake beneath an extremely salty glacier, under high pressure and without light or oxygen. An isolated bacterial ecosystem exists in the lake for millions of years. Life could be present on another planet under similar extreme conditions.

“Our study reveals that the rover’s analysis is incomplete in determining the true nature of environmental materials on planetary surfaces. This is especially true for colder planets, such as Mars, where the material that forms may be nanoscale and non-crystalline.” To understand Due to the nature of the rocky planet’s surface, an electron microscope is needed, but currently we cannot bring the instrumentation to Mars,” Livi said.

a khang (According new atlas)

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