Resolved the Mystery Organized Visits to Antarctic Red Cataracts

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Once the centenary mystery of the Antarctic red cataracts has been solved, a Russian icebreaker offers the possibility of travelling to and from the place. The phenomenon known as “Blood Falls”, can be visited aboard the “Kapitan Khlebnikov”, “a boat that spends ten days in the region from October” (

The “waterfalls of blood” were a mysterious red trail that contrasted with the immaculate white prevailing in Antarctica. The anomaly was discovered in 1911 by the Australian geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor. Since then there have been attempts to find explanations for the extravagant fact.

The first explorers that entered the Dry Valleys of McMurdo, next to the Taylor Glacier, and they found those strange waters that fell with force in Lake Bonney, believed that the tonality was due to reddish algae, but this theory It was later discarded. As is often the case, faced with the vacuum left by science, some of them hastened to formulate mystical theories or assign to extraterrestrial incursions the cause of the phenomenon.
The cataracts were studied by a team of scientists, funded by the “National Science Foundation”, who found the explanation.

5 million years ago, sea levels rose and flooded the eastern Antarctic, creating a lake of salt water. Then, glaciers were formed that shielded the source that nourishes the cataract, leaving it “like a time capsule preserved 400 meters below the surface”. While this was happening, “the buried water became increasingly salty.” At present, the lake “is three times saltier than seawater and too salty to get to freeze”. The water “was never touched by the sun’s rays and is completely devoid of oxygen. It is also rich in iron in the extreme, a mineral that got there thanks to the friction between the glaciers and the marine base under the lake (…) when this liquid comes into contact with the air, it oxidizes, which causes its strange blood red colour ”

Resolved the Mystery Organized Visits to Antarctic Red Cataracts

In addition, the microbes that are in this hostile environment “obtain their energy by separating sulphates, which contain oxygen. Then, the water iron interacts with them to restore the sulphate, which creates a kind of constant recycling chain “.



Source: Eldiario del Fin del Mundo