Above: Blood Falls at the terminus of Taylor Glacier. The structures at the upper right are part of the MIDGE field camp. Credit: Peter Rejcek
Top image credit: Peter Rejcek, National Science Foundation
Scientists send probe in the Blood Falls into the cold ice of Taylor Glacier, to captured uncontaminated sample with organisms living there, to check their ability to survive in extreme conditions.
The dark red color of the Blood Falls comes from the two million-year-old iron-heavy brine trapped under the Antarctic ice.
Jill Mikucki said after returning to McMurdo Station following three weeks working atop the slick, crevassed river of ice:
“It was one of those exciting moments in research. The thing that I love about Antarctic work is that it is both physically and mentally challenging. You have to pull all of your energy together to achieve these successful moments together as a team.”
There are tests to investigate the chemistry of the water to learn more about its history and origins. Then there are the microbes found in the hypersaline water itself: What kind of organisms can survive in such an extreme environment?
Mikucki, an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Tennessee, said:
“This is going to be an exciting sample to play with.”