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Never Eat Watermelon Snow -- Reddish Snow Showing Up In The Upper Elevations

Credit: Will Beback [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In a phenomenon called "watermelon snow", some of the snow that is left at the high elevations of the west are starting to show signs of a reddish tint.

This phenomenon gets its name from not only the color of the snow but is reported to have the scent of watermelon as well.

The pigment comes from species of green algae that live at the higher elevations close to 10,000 feet and above. The color acts almost like a sunscreen which protects the algae from damaging UV radiation.


However, if you happen to be up in the high country, find this interesting red snow, and are tempted to taste it to see if the taste, like the scent, really resembles a watermelon, don't do it. Officials say that the snow could have other bacteria in it, as well as being old and full of dirt and other microbes that could make someone sick. Take pictures, marvel at it, and then move along on your adventure.

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