What you’re about to see isn’t the rotting remains of a dead whale, it isn’t a gigantic blood stain left when everyone in a plane jumped at the same time and landed in the same spot, and it isn’t the stain left by some crashed oil tanker. What you’re about to see is a five storey tall frozen red waterfall.
Blood Falls is located in Antarctica where it slowly pours out of the Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney. This gigantic frozen waterfall was first discovered by geologists in 1911 and they originally hypothesised that the colour was caused by algae. They got it wrong and while people searched for the true reason behind the colour they found something that is nothing short of amazing.
When the Taylor Glacier first froze over it sealed a small saltwater lake beneath it and that lake has remained undisturbed for approximately two million years. As the Taylor Glacier advanced it picked up some of the surrounding areas iron heavy salts and deposited them into the lake. It’s these iron deposits that are staining the water and slowly leaking out as red sludge.
A small group of microbes were also trapped in the body of water and they’ve remained there for the past two million years, evolving without any interference from the outside world. The falls filter the water without letting anything contaminate the ecosystem. Now these microbes have survived and evolved without heat, light or oxygen and are considered to be the closest thing to the primordial ooze out of which all life on the planet evolved. Put simply, Blood Falls is the blood of God, and shows that life can exist without even one of the basic things we once thought all life forms needed one of.
Scientists are now theorising that the Blood Falls prove that life can exist and thrive in similar lakes on other worlds, notably Mars and Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons). While X Files fans around the world are busy dancing a little jig and saying “I told you so” to their collective friend, the rest of us can look on in awe at this absolutely beautiful natural phenomenon.