Author Topic: Pink Snow  (Read 1598 times)


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Pink Snow
« on: October 04, 2011, 06:06:11 PM »
Pink snow is a relatively common phenomenon and has been reported all over the world except in Africa.

In the States it is known as Watermelon snow because of its colour, and it smells and tastes of watermelon. In Scandinavia it is known as Blood snow.   Apparently Aristotle wrote about pink snow!

So what is Pink snow? Well it is in fact a very hardy form of algae called 'chlamydomonas nivalis' that can live in very harsh conditions of cold and hi UV environments. It starts life as a green algae that absorbs carbon monoxide which turns it red, which is believed it does to protect it from the harmful UV of the sun.

It is normally seen during the spring months when the snow has started to melt often on slushy wet snow. In the high Arctic/Antarctic it is normally seen on the southern side of snow banks and south facing elevations because of the low attitude of the sun so can be used as an indication of south but as with all natural navigation indicators it needs to be observed with other indicators to get a mean average and use this as the direction, in this case south.

Although pink snow is common place around the world it can only really be used as in the high Arctic/Antarctic as a navigation aid. The sun is too high in the sky during spring in other parts of the world so the snow can often turn completely pink.

Another interesting fact, algae can turn snow yellow, shades of brown and black. 

And how about orange snow? Residents of the Siberian town of Pudinskoye awoke one morning in 2007 to find themselves surrounded by orange snow! The residents started to worry there had been a chemical spill or nuclear accident which was reinforced by the local authorities issued a warning not to touch or use the snow. It was many hours later that the authorities discovered it was in fact caused by heavy sandstorms in neighbouring Kazakhstan had blown tonnes of sand into the upper atmosphere, which then mixed with clouds and fell as snow.
"We do not belong to those who only get their thought from books, or at the prompting of books - it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing or dancing, of lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful." Friedrich Nietzsche