Trivia

Hard

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

Black
Blue
Pink
Green
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

Hard

Snow Golf Was Invented By?

Trivia

Hard

Cheap Cardboard Records Used As Promotional Tools Throughout The 20th Century Were Known As?

Trivia

Easy

Which Famous Scientist’s Family Has Won The Most Nobel Prizes?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Of These Mammals Sleeps The Least Each Day?

Trivia

Easy

The Longest Running Scientific Experiment Centers Around What?

Trivia

Hard

To Give Their Eggs An Advantage, Some Butterflies Have Evolved To?

Trivia

Hard

What Do Many Cellphone Users Experience?

Trivia

Hard

Which Popular Service Was Initially Considered An April Fools’ Joke?

Trivia

Hard

What Is The Only Insect Known To Navigate Using Stars?

Trivia

Hard

If You’re Communicating In Digispeak, You’re Communicating With What?