Last weekend, we spent a couple of days at Lake Bonney to tend to our two stream gauges in this basin. Lake Bonney is located the furthest up-valley of all the camps in Taylor Valley, and is easily one of the oldest. This part of the valley is reminiscent of the southwestern United States, as it looks a bit more like Utah than what one would envision Antarctica to look like.
Lawson Stream is located uphill of the enormous Taylor Glacier, and from there a variety of notable features are within view. Below this stream, Blood Falls spills out from the tip of Taylor Glacier and is thought to be the remnant of an ancient marine waterbody that is sealed beneath the glacier. Blood Falls gets its name from the bright red discharge it produces, which gets its color from iron-reducing bacteria. Scientists are very interested in Blood Falls because it represents a poorly understood habitat for life on Earth, and exploring this place may help us understand life in general, but also aid in our search for life on other planets.
Above Lawson Stream is the Asgard Ranger lightning bolt, a symbol held dearly by the Stream Team. These “lightning bolts” can be seen all over the mountains of the Taylor Valley.
Above the Lake Bonney camp are some great sites as well. Near the Hughes Glacier is the Ventifact Museum, which is a collection of enormous rocks that have been shaped by the wind over thousands of years, and was featured in the series “Frozen Planet”. Here are some highlights: