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Why Is Orange Snow Falling Across Eastern Europe?

(Image credit: Google)

Orange snow fell across parts of Eastern Europe Friday (March 23) and through the weekend, resulting in some strange and beautiful images.

People who had gone up the mountains near the Russian city of Sochi posted photos to Instagram of the strange phenomenon. British meteorologist Steven Keates, of the U.K.'s Met Office, told The Independent that it's "feasible" that the deeply tinted snow is the result of intermixed sand and dust kicked up by storms in northern Africa, as has been widely reported.

A photo posted by on

The Independent also pointed out that a similar effect occurred in Siberia back in 2007, though at that time locals who encountered the snow described it as "foul-smelling" and "oily to the touch."

The dust storm causing the strange snow reportedly moved from northern Africa over Greece and toward Russia, CNN reported, quoting the Athens Observatory as saying that it was "one of the largest transfers of desert sand to Greece from the Sahara ever."

According to the BBC, orange snow has turned up in social media posts from people in Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova. One winter sports enthusiast apparently called out "We're skiing on Mars today!" as he slid across the bizarre snowpack, CNN reported.

A photo posted by on

Originally published on Live Science.

Rafi Letzter
Rafi joined Live Science in 2017. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of journalism. You can find his past science reporting at Inverse, Business Insider and Popular Science, and his past photojournalism on the Flash90 wire service and in the pages of The Courier Post of southern New Jersey.