Trivia

Hard

Snow Isn’t Always White; In The Sierra Nevada Mountains Snow Is Sometimes?

Green
Pink
Black
Blue
An example of pink snow in the mountains.
cjnoof/Flickr

Answer: Pink

If you hit the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains during the summer, you might be in for a little surprise: reddish-pink snow. The snow, known as “blood snow” and “watermelon snow,” is tinged the color it is thanks to a species of green algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that contains a secondary red carotenoid pigment in addition to the green color of the chlorophyll we typically associate with algae.

Disturbing the snow damages the membranes of the algae and makes the color more pronounced, which means ski tracks and footprints stand out bright red compared to the lighter surrounding snow; it’s a rather startling change to new skiers and hikers in the area.

The phenomenon was first observed by Aristotle (“watermelon” snow occurs in alpine and coastal polar regions all around the world, not just in the Sierra Nevada region) and puzzled scientists for centuries thereafter. Early theories proposed that the coloration was caused by minerals, oxidation, and even dust left behind by meteoric activity. In 1818, Robert Brown theorized that it was a type of algae (a theory confirmed by later sample gathering and analysis).

Trivia

Easy

“Peace Lines” Are An Urban Architectural Feature Found Throughout?

Trivia

Hard

The Most Geographically Isolated Group Of Islands On Earth Is?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest National Park In The World Is Located In Which Country?

Trivia

Hard

What Odd Treatment Are Spas In The Former Soviet State of Azerbaijan Famous For?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Holes In Swiss Cheese Are Caused By?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Most Widely Used Method Of Scheduling Syndicated Television Is Called?

Trivia

Hard

Juicy Fruit Gum Was Most Likely Originally Flavored With?

Trivia

Hard

The First Synthetic Dye Was Discovered By A Chemist Searching For What?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Foodstuffs Was Originally Dyed Before Sale?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Practice Of Firing A Purposefully Inaccurate Shot In A Pistol Duel Is Known As?