Specialists claim to have finally found an explanation for Antarctica’s intriguing Blood Falls. This waterfall has been a real glaciological mystery as its waters are well known for their red tinge. This crimson hue gave rise both to its appellation and to a slew of theories and speculations.
Now, a new study from University of Alaska Fairbanks comes with an explanation. A paper with the research results was published in the Journal of Glaciology. The researchers involved are confident of their results as these come based on extensive studies.
The Mysterious Blood Falls Are Fed By Briny Seawater?
Antarctica’s Blood Falls were discovered back in 1911. Located in East Antarctica, their colored saltwater flows out of the Taylor Glacier and into West Lake Bonney. Its crimson tinted waters have been the source of many discussion and mystification among scientists, as these spent decades studying the natural phenomenon.
According to this new study, the Blood Falls can thank briny seawater for their red color. The waterfall is reportedly fed by a significant amount of brine, seemingly trapped beneath the Taylor Glacier. The team said the following.
“The brine discharges at the surface on the northern side of Taylor Glacier staining the ice red and depositing a red-orange apron of frozen brine.”
They continued by pointing out the source of the red color. This could be the result of the “iron-bearing suboxic brine” coming into contact with the atmosphere, or more exactly oxygen. The team believes that this brine deposit may have been trapped under the glacier for well over a million years already.
Previous theories had already vehiculated the brine to falls connection. But the lack of evidence left it at a speculations level. Until now, when the researchers used radio-echo sounding to track the brine. This method is based on two antennae that transmit electrical pulses and then receive signals.
During their study, the team also detected liquid water inside an incredibly cold glacier. This other new discovery was also considered impossible by experts.
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