Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 10, Issue 3–4, pp 199–220 | Cite as

Geomicrobiology of Blood Falls: An Iron-Rich Saline Discharge at the Terminus of the Taylor Glacier, Antarctica

  • Jill A. Mikucki
  • Christine M. Foreman
  • Birgit Sattler
  • W. Berry Lyons
  • John C. Priscu


Blood Falls, a saline subglacial discharge from the Taylor Glacier, Antarctica provides an example of the diverse physical and chemical niches available for life in the polar desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Geochemical analysis of Blood Falls outflow resembles concentrated seawater remnant from the Pliocene intrusion of marine waters combined with products of weathering. The result is an iron-rich, salty seep at the terminus of Taylor Glacier, which is subject to episodic releases into permanently ice-covered Lake Bonney. Blood Falls influences the␣geochemistry of Lake Bonney, and provides organic carbon and viable microbes to the lake␣system. Here we present the first data on the geobiology of Blood Falls and relate it to␣the␣evolutionary history of this unique environment. The novel geological evolution of this␣subglacial environment makes Blood Falls an important site for the study of metabolic strategies␣in subglacial environments and the impact of subglacial efflux on associated lake ecosystems.


Antarctica McMurdo Dry Valleys subglacial environment saline lakes pliocene sea microbial diversity 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill A. Mikucki
    • 1
  • Christine M. Foreman
    • 1
  • Birgit Sattler
    • 2
  • W. Berry Lyons
    • 3
  • John C. Priscu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Land Resources and Environmental SciencesMontana State UniversityBozeman, MTUSA
  2. 2.Institut f\,\”ur Zoologie und LimnologieUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.Byrd Polar Research CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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