The blood falls of Antarctica
In some remote regions of the antarctic there are glaciers that appear to be bleeding. This makes for a stunning visual on the bright white snow, but what is going on here?
The falls are actually the product of a subglacial lake that is seeping out from a rupture in the glacier. The red color comes from the microbes living in the dark cold lake that use iron to produce energy (think rust). Scientists think that this population of organisms have been able to evolve separately from the rest of the world for over 1.5 million years.
UC Santa Cruz glaciologist Slawek Tulaczyk studies these types of environments and says they’re great for theorizing life on other planets:
A place like this would be as close of an analog as we can find on this planet for subpermafrost life habitats on Mars.
Tulaczyk and his team drill into Antarctic ice in the hopes of finding these types of ecosystems deep below the surface.
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