Waterways found under Antarctica's Dry Valleys: Research

Waterways found under Antarctica's Dry Valleys

According to a new study, Antarctica's Dry Valleys are the driest places on Earth, but under their icy soils there is a huge and ancient network of salty, liquid water, with life. The Dry Valleys are nearly completely ice-free, apart from a few isolated glaciers. A few small lakes only contain surface water. The climate is exceptionally dry, cold and windy inside the canyons.

Still life exists in this extreme landscape; there are examples such as bacteria living under Taylor Glacier. Blood Falls, the rust-colored brine, falls into Lake Bonney in the southernmost of the three largest Dry Valleys. The dramatic colours make feel better around just the glaring white ice and dull brown rocks.

Scientists have traced the water under Taylor Glacier for the first time to know more regarding the unexplained Blood Falls. It was discovered by the scientists in the process that briny water is under much of Taylor Valley. The subsurface network is a link between the valley's scattered lakes; it shows that they are not as isolated as once considered by scientists. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

According to lead study author Jill Mikucki, a microbiologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, “We've learned so much about the dry valleys in Antarctica just by looking at this curiosity. Blood Falls is not just an anomaly, it's a portal to this subglacial world".

An international research team was led by Mikucki. A recently developed airborne electromagnetic sensor was tested by the team in Taylor Valley. The instrument generates a magnetic field, which picks up conductivity differences in the ground to a depth of approximately 1,000 feet.

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