Science & Technology
Snow turns 'blood red' around Antarctic outpost
By T.K. Randall
February 27, 2020 · 3 comments
Do not eat the red snow. Image Credit: Facebook / Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
Scientists working at a Ukranian research station have revealed that the nearby snow has turned an odd color.
A series of images released by Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science earlier this week show a bizarre landscape of red-colored snow and ice surrounding the Antarctic Vernadsky Research Base.
While the phenomenon has left many social media users scratching their heads, the strange coloration does happen to have a conventional explanation.
It turns out that the culprit is a type of microscopic snow algae that becomes more common during the (relatively) warmer weather of the Antarctic summer (between October and February).
The algae has a red carotene layer that helps to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.
"Because of the red-crimson color, the snow reflects less sunlight and melts faster," the scientsts wrote. "As a consequence, it produces more and more bright algae."
The phenomenon has come to be known as 'raspberry snow'.
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