Iron-rich water leaking from Antarctica’s Taylor Glacier produces the deep red color of Blood Falls.
—Credit: Peter Rejcek, U. S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation vis NSIDC.org.
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What looks like the setting of some macabre slaughter of arctic wildlife, the Blood Falls is actually a cool scientific phenomenon. Located on the 35-mile-long Taylor Glacier in Victoria Land, directly south of New Zealand, the red hue is actually caused by bacteria that consume sulfur, and its iron-rich excretions cause the bizarre color. The microbial bacteria are a scientific marvel in their own right; they have survived there all this time without light, outside nutrients, and photosynthesis.