What’s really in Antarctica’s mysterious blood falls

The eerily gory waterfall is not in fact made of blood, and a new study shows just what gives it its unique color.

This story was updated on October 22, 2018.

The color was initially chalked up to red algae, but a study in the Journal of Glaciology has uncovered its true origin using radar to scan the layers of ice from which the river pours.

The discovery came at the hands of a team of scientists, including National Geographic emerging explorer Erin C Pettit.

Located in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys, the falls pour forth from Taylor Glacier, and the liquid bubbles up from fissures in the glacier’s surface. The flow was previously a mystery, as the mean temperature is 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and little glacial melting can be seen at the surface.

Imaging from underneath the glacier helped solve the mystery, revealing

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