This dim and sleeting Imbolc brings reports of orange snow in the Siberian forest. The snow has been variously described as “oily”, “musty-smelling” and “rotten-smelling”, and the color ranges from orange through red and yellow. Quite a number of possible explanations have been propounded: airborne dust from storms in Khazakstan; Aral Sea mud; pollution from a nuclear power station, metallurgical plants, fertilizer factories, or oil refineries.
In a thoughtful touch, residents are advised not use the snow for their “household or technical needs.”
Charles Fort documented a number of falls of red snow in his books. From The Book of the Damned, Chapter 27:
But distinctly enough, we are told of one red rain that it was of corpuscular composition — red snow, rather. It fell, March 12, 1876, near the Crystal Palace, London (Year Book of Facts, [287/288] 1876-89; Nature, 13-414).(5) As to the “red snow” of polar and mountainous regions, we have no opposition, because that “snow” has never been seen to fall from the sky: it is a growth of micro-organisms, or of a “protococcus,” that spreads over snow that is on the ground. This time nothing is said of “sand from the Sahara.” It is said of the red matter that fell in London, March 12, 1876, that it was composed of corpuscles —
That they looked like “vegetable cells.”
That nine days before had fallen the red substance — flesh — whatever it may have been — of Bath County, Kentucky.
From Lo!, Part 3 Chapter 4:
A red substance fell with snow, near Mildenhall (London Daily Mail, Feb. 22). It may have been functionally transmitted organic matter. “Pigeons seemed to feed upon it.”
Russia has dispatched a team to analyze the fall. For more on this story, track the full media coverage at Google News.