Why did this Antarctic pond turn bright purple?
Nobody really knows.
But, a few days ago, scientists were left completely baffled when a pond of water near Palmer Station has turned bright purple overnight…
And they even asked Twitter for an explanation… Do you know why?
A strikingly purple pond on Humble Island, Antarctica. We think the color comes from penguin colony “input” nearby. But why it turns so purple… not sure. pic.twitter.com/WxLXuLoHM9— Scott Hotaling (@MtnScience) February 27, 2020
Scott Hotaling, PhD student, came across the mysterious purple pond while working on Humble Island off the coast of Antarctica and known as an important birding habitat for penguins.
The small lake is located near Palmer Station, is very close to the ocean and appears shallow.
Could the purple color be linked to the nearby penguin colonies? Maybe.
I would bet on a bloom of purple bacteria, like other scientists on Twitter:
Scott: I’d bet on the bloom being due to purple bacteria (non-oxygen-evolving photosynthetic organisms. If there is no smell of H2S (the rotten-egg smell), then the organisms are growing using light as the energy source and organic matter for carbon.— Michael T Madigan (@MichaelTMadigan) February 29, 2020
A beautiful example of opportunistic extreme microbial water painters! Is there a buoyant mat on the surface or an uniform purple color through the water column? Many psychrophilic purple bacteria are found in Antartica— Stefano Amalfitano (@samalfi) February 28, 2020
There are indeed many extreme microbes and bacteria that are commonly found in Antarctica and love to color water or ice in different colors. By the way, have you ever heard of the Blood Falls in Antarctica? More mysterious natural phenomena on Strange Sounds or Steve Quayle.