Don’t eat the snow algae that smells like watermelon

Atop the glaciers of the polar ice caps and in alpine areas worldwide, explorers and naturalists are amazed by the mysterious blood snow in the summer. The earliest record of such a phenomenon can be traced back to Greek philosopher Aristotle, but he gave no explanation for it.

The reddish color of the snow is actually caused by a type of green algae (Chlamydomonas nivalis) that contain a red carotenoid pigment. The pigment can protect the algae from intense UV radiation and absorb heat, which helps the algae survive in both alpine and polar regions.

Scientists discovered that the pigment in the snow algae could also accelerate the melting rate of glaciers and snowbanks as it absorbs heat. During the winter, snow algae become dormant in the snow. When spring comes and the snow slightly melts, the algae bloom again.


The phenomenon of red snow seen in high mountains or in polar regions.

The snow algae can thrive in freezing water. Many protozoans like ice worms and springtails feed on the snow algae. If you walk in the pink snow, your soles and clothing would be colored with red. Some snow algae near tree canopies in alpine forests may be green.

DAWG SAYS: ALSO REMEMBER DO NOT EAT YELLOW SNOW EITHER, ESPECIALLY IF IT LOOKS LIKE SOMEONES NAME IN CURSIVE.


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