Why Does This Glacier Look Like A Gory Crime Scene?
Not exactly a prime vacation destination.
After taking one look at this glacier, I couldn’t help but conjure up memories of the “horse head” scene in “The Godfather.” In other words, a bloody mess.
However, the red liquid oozing from this remote glacier found in East Antarctica is not blood at all, but rather, red-colored saltwater. According to news.com.au, the blood-like substance is actually the result of saltwater that got enclosed inside a basin five million years back, where it was completely void of light, heat and oxygen.
As time progressed, this isolated saltwater became increasingly concentrated, and subsequently, increasingly “salty” — to the point where it was too salty to even freeze. And, today, this water still can be found in that very basin — located inside the Taylor Glacier, found in the Antarctic Taylor Valley — where it’s now known as Blood Falls.
Because of the saltwater’s high concentration, once it’s exposed to the oxygen found in the air — which happens every time it trickles from the Taylor Glacier — it reacts and becomes a dense crimson color, very similar to the appearance of blood.
But Blood Falls is not just a beautiful natural wonder. As news.com.au reports, “Scientists believe it could also be the gateway to some crucial revelations about life in hostile environments.”
Apparently, the saltwater found in Blood Falls might contain subterranean microbial life that has learned to adapt to the extreme conditions found inside the glacier. Ultimately, research done on these microorganisms could provide a look into how other species survive under extreme conditions, specifically on other planets such the surface of Mars and Jupiter’s moon, Europa.