From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/03/13/pinksnow.shtml

Creamy pink snow has covered the northern regions of Russia’s
Maritime territory, news agencies reported Monday. For some reason, the
snow that fell in the densely populated northern regions after a
powerful cyclone had acquired a pink color of varying tints.

Experts at the local meteorology centre said sand from neighboring
Mongolia was to blame for this unusual natural phenomenon. Before it
arrived in Maritime, the cyclone passed Mongolia, where sand storms had
been raging in the desert. “The winds of the cyclone embraced dust
particles that colored the fallouts,” the experts said.

February’s yellow snowfall with a strong odor and an oily texture was
observed on Russia’s Far East island of Sakhalin. The color, odor and
texture of the snow may have been a result of environmental pollution
caused by the island’s oil and natural gas industry.

However, experts do not rule out this could be caused by volcanic
activity.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1723913,00.html

There is a small bottle containing a red fluid on a shelf in Sheffield
University’s microbiology laboratory. The liquid looks cloudy and
uninteresting. Yet, if one group of scientists is correct, the phial
contains the first samples of extraterrestrial life isolated by
researchers.

Inside the bottle are samples left over from one of the strangest
incidents in recent meteorological history. On 25 July, 2001, blood-red
rain fell over the Kerala district of western India. And these rain
bursts continued for the next two months. All along the coast it rained
crimson, turning local people’s clothes pink, burning leaves on trees
and falling as scarlet sheets at some points.

Investigations suggested the rain was red because winds had swept up
dust from Arabia and dumped it on Kerala. But Godfrey Louis, a
physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, after gathering
samples left over from the rains, concluded this was nonsense. ‘If you
look at these particles under a microscope, you can see they are not
dust, they have a clear biological appearance.’ Instead Louis decided
that the rain was made up of bacteria-like material that had been swept
to Earth from a passing comet. In short, it rained aliens over India
during the summer of 2001.

Not everyone is convinced by the idea, of course. Indeed most
researchers think it is highly dubious. One scientist who posted a
message on Louis’s website described it as ‘bullshit’.

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mpinksnow.html

Turns out pink snow is caused by an algae called chlamydomonas nivalis,
which sounds like something you might have treated at the local public
health clinic after a weekend of partying. There are actually more than
350 kinds of algae that survive in very cold temperatures. These algae
can turn the snow black, brown or yellow (disregarding for the moment
the obvious cause of yellow snow), too. Chlamydomonas nivalis tends to
flourish when the weather warms up a little after the darkest, coldest
part of winter. It starts out green, then turns pink or reddish as the
weather brightens. The cells have a gelatinous sheath that protect them
from the strong ultraviolet radiation at high altitudes, and this
sheath is what produces the pink color.

Some kinds of algae that thrive in snow can be toxic, so it’s smart not
to eat colored snow. The Website I included above reports, too, that
this snow can have a distinctive watermelon scent, and says, “There are
unconfirmed reports that consuming ‘generous quantities’ of pink snow
may cause diarrhea, a rather distressing situation above timberline.”
I’ll say. I ate a whole bag of dried apricots once while backpacking,
and … anyhoo. Several sources I read theorized that consuming pink
snow would have a laxative effect, but no one seemed to want to try it.
Be my guest.