Skiers in Sochi, Russia, were met with a strange sight this past weekend. The usually beautiful and powdery white snow of Eastern Europe and Russia turned an interesting shade of sunset orange.
“We’re skiing on Mars today,” exclaimed one excited social media user as he skied down the orange tinted slopes. Skiers and snowboarders in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania posted photos of the surreal scenes on social media on both Friday and Saturday. People skiing and living in the region complained of sand in their mouths, the BBC reported.
The red dust in the snow, however, caused limited visibility for people as they tried to make their way down the slopes in Sochi, but the orange snow has been explained.
A sandstorm in Africa kicked up so much orange and red dust that it made its way to Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. The sandstorm was so massive that it could be seen by satellite. Then, as the sandstorm was underway, storms in northern Africa picked up sand, dust, and pollen particles from the Sahara and blew them across the Mediterranean and Europe, The Independent reported. It then mixed with snow and rain in eastern Europe and Russia, turning the snow orange.
According to CCN, The Athens Observatory said on Friday that this is one of the largest transfers of desert sand to Greece specifically from the Sahara ever and the strange meteorological event also caused the skies in Crete to go orange.
The African dust covered the entire country and concentrations were the highest in the last 10 years, according to the observatory’s meteorological service.
The snow’s orange tint was both an interesting and strange sight to many. This is just one example of how powerful the Earth and its ever-changing weather can be.