March 10, 2010

Apparently Snow Bleeds

Normally things in Antarctica... aren't red.

Yegads! That is a part of Taylor Glacier, specifically the Blood Falls, located in the dry valleys of Antarctica. Apparently, a lake was covered by the glacier about 2 million years ago, trapping the microbial life inside. They have evolved independently of outside life for all that time, and were discovered due to a few leaks from under the glacier.

The water coming out is red due to iron, and is incredibly salty with almost no oxygen in it. The microbes — 17 different kinds have been found there — must use sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen, which has never been seen before.

If any facehuggers pop out of that thing... I'm out!

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