Blood Falls Facts
- First of all, the astounding natural site known misleadingly as Blood Falls forms an extraordinarily unique wonder of Nature. In addition, the incredible feature of geology actually represents an amazing outpouring of melting salt water. Further, to the continual surprise of many people, this very slowly flows out from a point on the Taylor Glacier.
- From there, the remarkable wonder of Nature pours continuously onto the frozen surface of West Lake Bonney. Furthermore, this truly impressive glacier itself lies in what now bears the name of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This location in turn sits in the eastern section of Antarctica. This feature remains quite famous for its constant blood red color.
- In addition to everything else, the same processes which form this wonder of Nature also serve to make Blood Falls of extraordinary interest to many microbiologists. Amazingly, it also continues to be of great interest to astrobiologists, as well. These study it as a means of evaluating the possibility of life’s existence in harsh environments on other planets.
Blood Falls Natural Formation
Most notably, the remarkable Blood Falls boasts a truly unique and utterly distinctive geochemistry. In addition, it remains the only site of its kind known to exist. That holds true due to the fact that the formation actually constitutes an outpouring of iron-rich, hyper-saline water. Furthermore, this water flows from small fractures laced throughout the many layers of ice.
But its unique chemical composition does not represent the only surprising aspect of the site. That’s because a large sub-glacial pool serves as the source of the water. Further, this collection of water itself lies beneath approximately 1,300 ft (400 m) of ice. Not only that, but this remarkable pool also sits about 2 mi (3.2 km) from the point where it emerges from the ice.
In addition, the precise size of the pool that spawns the impressive Blood Falls also remains undetermined. Beneath the glacier, and between it and the underlying rock layer, sits a region of brine. Additionally, this brine possesses such a high saline level that it has remained liquid. Finally, extremely high concentrations of ferric oxide within the deposit create a unique color.
Blood Falls Microbial Ecosystem
Perhaps most surprisingly on of all, due to its inherently unique development, Blood Falls also contains an incredible ecosystem of its own. Firstly, within its depths, autotrophic bacteria evolved. Secondly, and quite amazingly, those actually metabolize ferric materials and sulfates for nourishment. In simple language, these bacteria essentially consume iron.
Furthermore, a detailed scientific analysis of the water of the falls reveals yet another startling fact. That’s because any such analysis immediately reveals that the water contains a total of at least 17 different species of microbes. Not only that, but the astounding liquid also contains virtually no oxygen. Perhaps due to this, these microbes utilize sulfates as a catalyst for respiration.
Finally, the site known as Blood Falls represents the only known place on earth where a form of life utilizing this metabolic process has been discovered. The isolated but absolutely amazing location presents scientists with the ability to study such a unique ecosystem. To the utter delight of researchers, this thankfully occurs without the need to drill down to it.