Temperature

Mystery Of Antarctica’s Blood Falls Is Finally Solved

Take A Peek at NASA’s Massive James Webb Space Telescope

Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica
Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica

Credit: Wikipedia.org

Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica

The longstanding mystery surrounding Antarctica’s Blood Falls has finally been solved. The deep red falls were first discovered in Antarctica in 1911 where scientists noticed a river had stained the surrounding cliff of ice with a dark red color. Previously, they had believed it was due to algae discoloring the water, however that hypothesis was never verified.

Now, thanks to research by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, we know the true origin of the Blood Falls flowing from the Taylor Glacier. The deep red coloring is due to oxidized iron in brine saltwater, the same process that gives iron a dark red color when it rusts. When the iron bearing saltwater comes into contact with oxygen the iron oxidizes and takes on a red coloring, in effect dying the water to a deep red color.

The research team transected the glacier in a grid using radio-echo sounding (RES) to map out the features below the glacier. Thankfully, the super saturated brine that makes up the river allows for a stark density contrast in RES compared to the non-saline (fresh) ice. The research team calculates that the brine water takes approximately 1.5 million years to finally reach the Blood Falls as it makes its way through fissures and channels in…

Watch David Lynch’s (Mostly Straightforward) Weather Reports

David Lynch, the visionary director of surreal films such as Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead, has some perfectly offbeat hobbies. He records dance music. He designs night clubs. He makes furniture. He is a crusader for transcendental meditation. But weirdest of all just may be his predilection for weather reporting.

In the mid-2000s, Lynch enjoyed sitting at his desk at home in Los Angeles and describing the weather, and regularly put videos of his…

A Warm Winter May Prompt a Maple Syrup Shortage

Breakfast lovers, beware: Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter that’s impacting some farmers’ production and quality levels, the price of maple syrup may eventually soar, Food & Wine reports.

February’s balmy temperatures caused crops across the country to start growing early, but syrup makers in the northeast U.S.—particularly Somerset County, Pennsylvania, the state’s top syrup-producing county—were hit particularly hard by the phenomenon, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of them have produced around half of last year’s syrup yield, because the warmer weather makes it harder for farmers to tell when their sugar and red maple trees should be tapped.

Ideal sap-flowing…

Earth’s mantle may be hotter than thought

Earth's mantle
HOT STUFF Temperatures in Earth’s mantle are higher than previously thought, results from a new experiment suggest.

Temperatures across Earth’s mantle are about 60 degrees Celsius higher than previously thought, a new experiment suggests. Such toasty temperatures would make the mantle runnier than earlier research suggested, a development that could help explain the details of how tectonic plates glide on top of the mantle, geophysicists report in the March 3 Science.

“Scientists have been arguing over the mantle temperature for decades,” says study coauthor Emily Sarafian, a geophysicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and at MIT. “Scientists will argue over 10 degree changes, so changing it by 60 degrees is quite a large jump.”

The mostly solid mantle sits between Earth’s crust and core and makes up around 84 percent of Earth’s volume. Heat from the mantle fuels volcanic eruptions and drives plate tectonics, but taking the mantle’s temperature is trickier than dropping a thermometer down a hole.

Scientists know from the paths of earthquake waves and from measures of how electrical charge moves through Earth that a boundary in the mantle exists a few dozen kilometers below Earth’s surface. Above that boundary, mantle rock can begin melting on its way up to the surface. By mimicking the extreme conditions in the deep Earth — squeezing and heating bits of mantle that erupt from undersea volcanoes or similar rocks synthesized in the lab — scientist can also determine the melting temperature of mantle rock. Using these two facts, scientists have estimated that temperatures at the boundary depth below Earth’s oceans are around 1314° C to…