Antarctica's 'Blood-falls': Scientists finally decode more than century-old mystery!
One of the oldest mysteries that has kept scientists completely baffled is more than a century old – the Antarctica's famous 'blood-falls'.
The blood-red waterfall was first discovered by an Australian geologist who theorized that it was made up of red algae.
In 2003, this theory was overlapped with one that believed that the water was coloured red by oxidized iron and perhaps the last remnants of a five million year old salt water lake.
Now, however, a new study carried out by the University of Alaska and Colorado College has questioned any previous theories made on the blood-falls, arguing that the water flows from a large lake of salty water that has been trapped under ice for one million years.
According to The Sun, scientists were able to track the path of the water under the glacier using echolocation technology.
As per the Fox News, much like the echolocation used by bats, the technique the scientists used to send and receive electrical signals in "grid-like patterns" through the glacier's ice led them to a find previously thought impossible: flowing liquid water existing in a frozen glacier.
‘We moved the antennae around the glacier in grid-like patterns so that we could ‘see’ what was underneath us inside the ice, kind of like a bat uses echolocation to ‘see’ things around it,’ co-author Christina Carr wrote.
While confirming that the glacier has its own water system, the researchers were nonplussed to find that the lake hadn't frozen despite being enveloped in a layer of ice for so long.
As water releases heat when it freezes the surrounding water continued to flow.
The discovery now opens the doors to "understanding the role of liquid water—salty or fresh—in other extremely cold glaciers or permafrost environments," co-author Jessica Badgeley adds, per a Colorado College press release, Fox News reported.