Blood Falls

Blood Falls got its name because of its ruddy color that resembles the color of blood. It is located in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys. This waterfall is the result of iron-rich, hyper-saline water oozing out from the glacier’s tongue.

The water has this color because of iron oxides present in the water. Blood Falls flow originates from a sub-glacial pool overlaid by ice sheets. This body of water contained an ancient colony of microbes and other small organisms.

The water from the falls is unique for being almost devoid of oxygen. This water flows onto Taylor Valley’s West Lake Bonney’s frozen surface.

Quick Facts: –

  • Blood Falls was discovered in 1911 by the Australian geographer, anthropologist Griffith Taylor.
  • He visited Taylor Valley in Antarctica and this valley was named after him.
  • East Antarctica is called Victor Land and that is where McMurdo Dry Valleys or just Dry Valleys are located.
  • Antarctica’s Dry Valleys are one of the most hostile environments on the planet earth.
  • In 2009, Jill Mickucki, a geomicrobiologist conducted experiments within the falls along with her team and found that there is barely any oxygen in the water.
  • On the basis of the results of these experiments it was said that somewhere deep underneath the glacial ice is a trapped body of water.
  • Approximately 2 million years ago, the Taylor Glacier sealed beneath it a small body of water which contained an ancient community of microbes.
  • This trapped water body has an unusually salty consistency provides water for Blood Falls.
  • The saltwater has a lower freezing point than pure water and releases heat as it freezes; it melts the ice, enabling the rivers to flow.
  • The existence of the Blood Falls ecosystem shows that life can exist even in the most extreme conditions on Earth.