Blood Falls

Panorama of Blood Falls looking west across Lake Bonney.  The Santa Fe stream enters Lake Bonney along the north (photo-right) side of the Glacier, and Lawson Creek enters just to the right of the Santa Fe.

Panorama of Blood Falls looking west across Lake Bonney. The Santa Fe stream enters Lake Bonney along the north (photo-right) side of the Glacier, and Lawson Creek enters in front of the darker band just to the right of the Santa Fe.

We’ve made two trips to Lake Bonney, which sits at the toe of the Taylor Glacier.  If you were to climb up onto the Taylor, and walk uphill for about 40 miles,  you would reach Depot Nunatak, named by Scott and British National Antarctic Expedition, on their western journey in 1903.   Scott descended the Taylor Glacier to discover the Taylor Valley.

At the toe of the Taylor Glacier is Blood Falls. The origin of the name is not clear, but the motivation for it is–the falls are a blood-red seep of saline water containing, among other things, oxidized iron.   I’ll try to learn and write more about Blood Falls (I’ve already mentioned the Germans and their Ice Mole, which is being used to explore the source of Blood Falls).  If I tried to learn all I could about Blood Falls before I gave you this post, I would fall into what my longtime colleague Lee calls “wholistic paralysis.”  So, for now, here are a few photographs.

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2 thoughts on “Blood Falls

  1. Ben, while you’re up (or I should say down) there, my mother in law recommends a book on the Scott & Amundsen expeditions called “The Last Place on Earth”, by Roland Huntford (with introduction by Paul Theroux). Apparently it gave a critical appraisal of Scott’s trek, and it was controversial at the time, and has since been somewhat forgotten. I wonder if they might have it on a bookshelf somewhere there? -Andy

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    • I read Huntford’s book many years ago. He really didn’t think much of Scott, and without any other perspective, I took that point of view. But for a more balanced perspective, I highly recommend Scott of the Antarctic, by David Crane, and The Coldest March, by Boulder’s and NCAR’s own Susan Solomon. Huntford appears to have begun his career as a journalist. Crane is an Oxford-trained historian. You can see where I am going with this. Besides having a very clever title, Solomon’s book, which you will really enjoy, provides an analysis of the exceptional weather faced by Scott during his return (exacerbated by his late start–he did make a lot of mistakes.) You get to appreciate Scott’s devotion to exploration in Crane’s book. The story of how Scott’s party discovered the Taylor Valley is a good example of that devotion.

      I tend to think of Amundsen as an adventure racer, and Scott as an explorer. Both have their place. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who should know, wrote in The Worst Journey in the World (his story of the Tera Nova Expedition, including his winter trip to Cape Crozier) “…I would like to serve under Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and Wilson–each to his part. For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time.”

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