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61. Blood Falls

21 Mar

FACT: Over 2 million years ago the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica covered over a small body of water. This body of water contained an ancient colony of microbes and other small organism. After a few years the water was totally sealed over by the glacier, removing all light from it.

Then they evolved independently from the rest of the world. Here in this sealed off body in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, there was no light, oxygen, very little heat and a ridiculous level of salinity. Formidable circumstances which almost no creature could survive. Yet these did.

A fissure in the glacier one day allowed this primordial mixture to escape and cascade slowly out of the Taylor glacier, forming a five-story stream of red liquid resembling blood from an open wound. This fissure allows the water out without letting any contamination in, meaning that underneath the glacier the bacteria and microbes are still evolving.

When it was discovered in 1911 researchers believed the red to be caused by algae, but no. It is a mixture of the microbes and the sheer level of iron in the glacial lake makes the water blood red. It is still pumping out the blood red water at this moment.

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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Trivia

 

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