A bright red waterfall seeps through the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica. Called Blood Falls, it helps scientists to learn more about life in extreme environments.
Amazing But True!
- Sea level was higher 5 million years ago and the ocean extended over more of Antarctica.
- Ice-covered lakes are found beneath the ice in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
- Conditions in the lake beneath Taylor Glaicer are extreme: high salinity, temperatures below freezing, no free oxygen, and complete darkness.
- The water coming from Blood Falls has been in the lake for about 5 million years.
- The lake has a lot of iron scraped from the bedrock below by the glacier.
- Snowball Earth is a hypothesis that Earth was entirely frozen sometime before 650 million years ago.
With the links below, learn more about Blood Falls. Then answer the following questions.
- SciShow, Weird Places: Blood Falls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIaf9LDJR9c
- EarthSky, Blood Falls, five stories high, seeps from an Antarctic glacier: http://earthsky.org/earth/blood-falls-five-stories-high-seeps-from-an-antarctic-glacier
- How could there be lakes beneath the ice in the Dry Valleys?
- How did the water in the lake become so much more saline than the ocean?
- Why do scientists call the lake a biological time capsule?
- Why is the water in Blood Falls red?
- How do the microbes in the lake breathe?
- Why is the existence of life in the lake important for ideas about the early Earth?