Rare Orange Snowfall Turns Ski Resort Into Martian Landscape
Toward the end of March 2018, orange snow fell from the sky, blanketing Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania. The strange looking snow made the ground and mountain tops resemble sand dunes in the Sahara or the surface of some other planet.
Every five years or so, strong sandstorms sweep over the Sahara and pick up dust, pollen and sand, which gets trapped in the atmosphere. When the air forms clouds that move over the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, the snow falls, dropping the dust, pollen and sand with it.
The blue arrow in this NASA photo is pointing to one of the biggest dust transfers from the Sahara Desert to Greece, on its way to some countries in Eastern Europe.
The Sahara Desert is the third largest desert in the world, located in northern Africa, spanning from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It changes from grassland to desert every 41,000 years, according to scientists.
Sandstorms in the desert happen frequently when very high winds pick up the top layers of sand and send them flying in all directions. In this instance, the conditions were just right to take the sand and place it in the atmosphere where it took a ride to the East.
The snow fell on a ski resort in Estosadok, Russia and the confused and excited skiers wasted no time posting pictures of the strange terrain they had to slalom on. Some said it looked like a scene from Mars, while other described the scenery as something out of an apocalyptic movie!
Although it made for interesting photos and a great story by the fire in the ski lodge, the orange snow didn’t slow the skiers down a bit. In fact, it encouraged people to get out there and be part of what may be for them a once in a lifetime event.
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