(PCM) A very strange weather phenomenon occurred in the Siberian region of Russia in early 2007 and then again in 2015 when orange colored snow poured forth from the sky, baffling both residents and scientists. The orange snow fell throughout an area of about 580 square miles that is located about 1,400 miles from Moscow.
Residents of the region, as well as, weather experts began to speculate about a variety of reasons for the snow’s orange color with many thinking it was caused by pollution and others feeling that it may have been the result of a major sandstorm that took place in the neighboring nation of Kazakhstan.
Whatever the case may be it was definitely odd and it has only happened on those two occurrences. The orange snow was malodorous, oily to the touch, and reported to contain four times the normal level of iron. Though mostly orange, some of the snow was red or yellow. It affected an area with about 27,000 residents. At first residents were warned not to consume or use the snow for anything including feeding animals, in case it were the result of any type of pollution or even in the worst case scenario a nuclear accident. The snow was later discovered to be non-toxic, but residents were still advised to use caution when handling the snow.
The most reasonable reason for the orange snow was most likely due to the sandstorm in Kazakhstan, as the snow tested positive for sand and clay dust particles. This is not the first time that oddly colored snow has fallen in the Siberian region, as they have experienced blue, black, and even green colored snow in the past, however it is very uncommon. Red-and-pink watermelon snow is common in alpine regions and gets its colors and telltale smell of watermelon from a type of algae that lives in the region. Deep red colored blood snow falls near Blood Falls in Antarctica’s Taylor Glacier for a different reason. Iron-rich saltwater leaking from an ancient reservoir under the glacier oxidizes when it hits the air and turns the waterfall and snow blood red.
We can only hope that the orange snow was not actually the result of any sort of industrial pollution, however that has not yet been ruled out either. As the snow contained four times the normal quantities of acids, nitrates, and iron. The orange snow was definitely an anomaly and one that Siberian residents certainly hope to not deal with again anytime soon!