Nature has created a variety of amazing things all over the world. These unique species of biodiversity can be found in one place in the world.
Antarctica is considered to be the largest ice-covered desert region. However, here too, nature has not forgotten to create wonders. The ‘Blood Falls’ in the eastern part of Antarctica is one of the most prominent.
In this regard, something that has been a secret until now, was revealed recently. That is the reason for the red colour seen there.
The Taylor Glacier, found in Eastern Antarctica, is unique. In addition to the ice layer on its surface, a stream of water flows beneath it. The speciality here is that it takes on a dark red colour like human blood.
Throughout the 20th century, many scientists have tried to solve this mystery. But due to the limited technology available at that time, they could not solve it. They speculated that red algae lived in the water. They also stated that, given the prevailing environmental conditions, the probability of such a life is very low. But later research confirmed that it did not contain algae.
Instead, they discovered that it contained oxidize do iron ions, or ferric ions. Ferric ions produce bright red compounds. Thus the issue of how its red colour is formed was solved. But where it came from and how it came to be was a puzzle they could not solve. Over the years, a group of scientists in Alaska have been able to solve some of the last problems associated with the Antarctic blood falls. They discovered that this water came from an underground salt lake rich in iron ions.
The water here comes to the glacier through a hole in the rock layer on the surface, and is drawn down with it at the bottom of the glacier and splashes out at its mouth. Water that does not initially turn red has been found to turn red at the face.
To find a salty lake with liquid water beneath the glacier, scientists had to do some research. By sending radio waves, they have even discovered things like the salt lake and the depth at which it is located.
The water in this underground salt lake is under high pressure. It is also very salty. Due to this, the water here is in a liquid state, even though the temperature is below freezing.
Oxygen in the groundwater is very low. Because of this, its iron ions exist as ferrous ions. As these come down from the glacier and blow out, they mix with oxygen. The ferrous ions in it then oxidize quickly and become ferric.
The oxide formed by these ions is dark red, giving it a colour similar to that of water and blood. These are subjected to ambient pressure and temperature, where they condense again after falling into the lower lake.
Recently, a team of scientists decided to explore this glacier, conducting research based on the findings of their observations. There, all the research was successful and the conclusions were correct, and blood-red saline water was pumped out.
As the mystery of the blood falls is thus solved, the avenues for further research on the other end are now open. Scientists in the research team say that life can be found in this water also.
They have been found in microbes in cold water, which is extremely salty and never exposed to sunlight. While it is true that life has been found in such harsh environmental conditions before, they say the living conditions of these species are even more harsh.