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Antarctica is home to a crimson-hued waterfall called Blood Falls that starkly pours down five stories along an icy white glacier.

15 views 10 April 2021

When Antarctic explorers first discovered a cliff stained with blood-red water in 1911, they assumed that red-hued algae were responsible for the colour. The place quickly became known as Blood Falls, although it turned out to be neither blood nor algae.

In fact, Blood Falls is the result of slowly oozing, iron-rich saltwater that oxidises in contact with air, just like rust. The water is so salty, it's more accurately described as brine. And now geologists have finally figured out where all that brine is coming from.

A new study led by researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks has outlined the path the red brine takes to escape from underneath a glacier that's at least 1.5 million years old.

Blood Falls is located at the northern end of Taylor Glacier, which stretches over 100 kilometres (62 miles) through the Transantarctic Mountains.