085 Deathly Hollows: How to Find the Coldest Place on Earth

28 . 01 . 2020

Contributors


Henry Páll Wulff
Expedition Guide, Naturalist
Chris Marquardt
Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Henry Páll Wulff

Expedition Guide, Naturalist

Chris Marquardt

Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Notes

The icy turtle shell of East Antarctica provides the perfect ground for the coldest place to find on Earth. A hundred little pockets of exceptional cold scattered across the highest parts of the ice sheet. The coldest spots were in shallow depressions in the ice, little hollows where the surface isn’t perfectly smooth. That’s probably because cold air sinks into these depressions as it sinks into a river valley or a canyon. During the long, dark polar winter temperatures are reached scientists think they are about as cold as it can possibly get in our corner of the solar system.

084 Meet the Natives: The World's Toughest Animal

21 . 01 . 2020

Contributors


Henry Páll Wulff
Expedition Guide, Naturalist
Chris Marquardt
Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Henry Páll Wulff

Expedition Guide, Naturalist

Chris Marquardt

Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Notes

Being Antarctica’s largest native purely terrestrial animal, the Antarctic midge (Belgica antarctica) has the smallest genome in the insect kingdom. The holder of two Guinness Book of World Records entries spends more than half its life frozen. A better understanding of how it does survives freezing temperatures of up to -40 °C could have implications for human health.

083 The Mysterious Blood Red Flow

14 . 01 . 2020

Contributors


Henry Páll Wulff
Expedition Guide, Naturalist
Chris Marquardt
Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Henry Páll Wulff

Expedition Guide, Naturalist

Chris Marquardt

Photographer, Author, Podcaster, Traveler, Educator

Notes

In 1911, during an expedition to the McMurdo Dry Valleys, geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor discovered a strange phenomenon on a remote glacier in East Antarctica: The lily-white ice of the glacier was being stained a deep red by water flowing from deep within the glacier. Taylor had believed it was due to algae discoloring the water, however that hypothesis was never verified.

For many years the source of the red color remained a mystery, as the mean temperature is 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and little glacial melting can be seen at the surface. But in 2017 scientists of the University of Alaska Fairbanks announced that they had discovered the cause.

The deep red coloring is due to oxidized iron in brine salt water, 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 striking deep red color - and its name, Blood Falls.

Roughly two million years ago, the Taylor Glacier sealed beneath it a small body of water that contained an ancient community of microbes. Trapped below a thick layer of ice, they have remained there ever since, isolated inside a natural time capsule. Evolving independently of the rest of the living world, these microbes exist in a place with no light or free oxygen and little heat, and are essentially the definition of “primordial ooze.” The trapped lake has very high salinity and is rich in iron. After that, something eerily magical happens with the by-products. The iron in the water interacts with them to restore the sulphates, basically recycling the sulphates for the microbes to break down into oxygen over and over again. A fissure in the glacier allows the subglacial lake to flow out, forming the falls without contaminating the ecosystem within.

Furthermore, the scientists mapped the path of the water that feeds the five-story tall falls and explores how water can exist under the ice, unravel the inner workings of glaciers.

firtz - Ein Podcast Publisher


firtz 2.0

Einfach und schnell podcasten mit firtz. Entwickelt von Christian Bednarek um als Podcast Publisher die Welt zu erobern.


Firtz-Designs: QuorX II

Das QuorX-Design wurde von Michael Kaufmann (aka Michael McCouman Jr.) entwickelt.


Mehr erfahren