May 02, 2017 08:00 AM EDT
After many years of research, the century-old mystery of Antarctica's Blood Falls has finally been solved by scientists. It was revealed recently that it might be linked to a large source of salty water trapped in the glacier.
Antarctica Blood Falls Mystery Cracked By Research Team
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College research team was the one to solve the century-old mystery of the Antarctica Blood Falls. It was believed that the red waterfall was actually linked to a large source of salty water that was trapped under the Taylor Glacier. They think that it was trapped for more than 1 million years, according to the official website of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Antarctica Blood Falls Not Caused By Algae
The study of the team described the brine's 300-foot path from beneath the Taylor Glacier to the Blood Falls. Many were baffled by this mystery since the Geoscientist Griffith Taylor discovered it in 1911. He believed that the color was the result of the algae that grew on the glacier that were washed into West Lake Bonney, but that was not the case.
Antarctica Blood Falls Suspected Of Iron-Rich Waters
The recent analysis in 2003 confirmed that it was not algae, but it revealed that the water contained extremely high levels of iron. These iron atoms in the water would turn red when it was exposed to air, and it became iron oxide or rust. This was not blood or algae, but it was water with rust dissolved in it, Extreme Tech reported.
Antarctica Blood Falls Water Source Revealed
While the reason for the red colored water was discovered, the research team uncovered the ultimate source of it all. They found out that the ancient source was found under the glacier's surface by using a type of radar to detect the brine that was feeding Blood Falls. Lead author Jessica Badgeley revealed that the salts in the brine were the factor that made the discovery possible by amplifying the contrast with the fresh glacier ice.
Research Team Made Another Significant Discovery
While the research team discovered the mystery of the Antactica Blood Falls, they also found another significant discovery for mankind. They found out that liquid water can persist inside an extremely cold glacier. Scientists in the past thought this was nearly impossible to do, but UAF Glaciologist Erin Pettit revealed that the freezing process could explain how the water could flow in a cold glacier, News Miner reported.
Pettit explained that the water releases heat as it freezes, and that heat would warm the surrounding colder ice. The liquid movement was made possible because of that heat and the lower freezing temperature of salty water. She has now pronounced the Taylor Glacier as the coldest known glacier to have this persistently flowing water.
Check out The Mysterious Blood Falls, Antarctica video below: