Watermelon snow, also called snow algae, is snow that is reddish or pink in color, with the slight scent of a fresh watermelon. "Snowfall" redirects here For other uses see Snow (disambiguation or Snowfall (disambiguation. Watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus ( Thunb) Matsum & Nakai family Cucurbitaceae) refers to both Fruit and Plant of a vine-like (climber This type of snow is common during the summer in alpine and coastal polar regions worldwide, such as the Sierra Nevada of California. The Sierra Nevada ( Spanish for "Snowy Range" is a Mountain range located in the U California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. Here, at altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet (3,000–3,600 m), the temperature is cold throughout the year, and so the snow has lingered from winter storms. Compressing the snow by stepping on it or making snowballs leaves it looking red. Walking on watermelon snow often results in getting bright red soles and pinkish pant cuffs.
Watermelon snow is caused by the presence mainly of Chlamydomonas nivalis, a species of green algae containing a secondary red carotenoid pigment (astaxanthin) in addition to chlorophyll. The green algae (singular green alga) are the large group of Algae from which the Embryophytes (higher plants emerged Carotenoids are organic Pigments that are naturally occurring in Chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic Organisms For the drug referred to as "pigment" see Black tar heroin. Astaxanthin (pronounced as-tuh-zan'-thin is a Carotenoid. It belongs to a larger class of Phytochemicals known as Terpenes It is classified as a Chlorophyll is a green Pigment found in most Plants Algae and Cyanobacteria. Unlike most species of fresh-water algae, it is cryophilic (cold-loving) and thrives in freezing water. Psychrophiles or Cryophiles (adj cryophilic are extremophilic Organisms that are capable of growth and reproduction in cold temperatures  Its specific epithet, nivalis, is from Latin and refers to snow. Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome.
The first accounts of watermelon snow are in the writings of Aristotle. Aristotle (Greek Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC was a Greek philosopher a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. Watermelon snow has puzzled mountain climbers, explorers, and naturalists for thousands of years, some speculating that it was caused by mineral deposits or oxidation products that were leached from rocks. Natural history is the Scientific research of Plants or Animals leaning more towards the Observational than Experimental methods
In May 1818, four ships sailed from England to search for the Northwest Passage and chart the Arctic coastline of North America. The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Severe weather made them finally turn the ships back, but the expedition made valuable contributions to science. Captain John Ross noticed crimson snow that streaked the white cliffs like streams of blood as they were rounding Cape York on the northwest coast of Greenland. Sir John Ross, CB, ( 24 June 1777 &ndash 30 August 1856) was a Scottish Rear admiral and Arctic There is also a Cape York Peninsula in Australia Cape York is a cape at the north-west coast of Greenland, in Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat meaning "Land of the Greenlanders" Grønland is a self-governing Danish Province located between the A landing party stopped and brought back samples to England. The Times wrote about this discovery on December 4, 1818:
|“||Captain Sir John Ross has brought from Baffin's Bay a quantity of red snow, or rather snow-water, which has been submitted to chymical analysis in this country, in order to the discovery of the nature of its colouring matter. The Times is a daily national Newspaper published in the United Kingdom since 1785 when it was known as The Daily Universal Register. "December 4th" redirects here For the song by Jay-Z, see December 4th (song. Year 1818 ( MDCCCXVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common Baffin Bay (French Baie de Baffin) is a Sea between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans Our credulity is put to an extreme test upon this occasion, but we cannot learn that there is any reason to doubt the fact as stated. Sir John Ross did not see any red snow fall; but he saw large tracts overspread with it. The colour of the fields of snow was not uniform; but, on the contrary, there were patches or streaks more or less red, and of various depths of tint. The liquor, or dissolved snow, is of so dark a red as to resemble red port wine. It is stated, that the liquor deposits a sediment; and that the question is not answered, whether that sediment is of an animal or vegetable nature. It is suggested that the colour is derived from the soil on which the snow falls: in this case, no red snow can have been seen on the ice.||”|
A follow-up article three days later erroneously concluded that the coloration was caused by meteoric iron deposits:
|“||Some doubt has been expressed as to the red snow observed by Sir John Ross and his associates in the newly discovered arctic region; but when it is known that the iron which was also found there, lying on the surface, in heaps, and in considerable quantities, was all meteoric, the doubt will cease, and the fact will admit of an easy solution. Sir John Ross brought home small specimens of this iron, which has been subjected by Mr. Professor Brande to the usual tests, and it is found to be precisely of the kind of the meteoric stones that occasionally fall in more southern latitudes. It is impregnated with nickel, which is never found in earth iron. That, therefore, which loads the atmosphere with the fluid which composes this meteoric iron, serves to colour the snow; iron being found to be the colourist of all metallic as well as vegetable matter.||”|
Watermelon snow was finally attributed to blooms of algae at the end of the nineteenth century.
Chlamydomonas nivalis is a green alga that owes its red color to a bright red carotenoid pigment, which protects the chloroplast from intense visible and also ultraviolet radiation, as well as absorbing heat, which provides the alga with liquid water as the snow melts around it. The green algae (singular green alga) are the large group of Algae from which the Embryophytes (higher plants emerged Carotenoids are organic Pigments that are naturally occurring in Chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic Organisms For the drug referred to as "pigment" see Black tar heroin. Ultraviolet ( UV) light is Electromagnetic radiation with a Wavelength shorter than that of Visible light, but longer than X-rays Algal blooms may extend to a depth of 25 cm (10 inches), with each cell measuring about 20 to 30 micrometers in diameter, about four times the diameter of a human red blood cell. An algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of Algae in an aquatic system A micrometre ( American spelling: micrometer; symbol µm) is one millionth of a Metre, or equivalently one thousandth of a Millimetre Red blood cells are the most common type of Blood cell and the Vertebrate body's principal means of delivering Oxygen to the body tissues via the Blood It has been calculated that a teaspoon of melted snow contains a million or more cells. The algae sometimes accumulate in sun cups, which are shallow depressions in the snow. The carotenoid pigment absorbs heat and as a result it deepens the sun cups, and accelerates the melting rate of glaciers and snowbanks. "Glacial" and "Glaciation" redirect here For the geological periods see Glacial period.
During the winter months, when snow covers them, the algae become dormant. In spring, nutrients, increased levels of light and meltwater, stimulate germination. Once they germinate, the resting cells release smaller green flagellate cells which travel towards the surface of the snow. Flagellates are cells with one or more whip-like organelles called flagella. Once the flagellated cells reach the surface, they may lose their flagellae and form aplanospores, or thick-walled resting cells, or they may function as gametes, fusing in pairs to form zygotes. A flagellum ( plural flagella) is a tail-like structure that projects from the Cell body of certain Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells and it A gamete (from Ancient Greek γαμέτης; translated gamete = wife gametes = husband is a cell that fuses with another gamete For other meanings see Zygote (disambiguation. A zygote (from Greek ζυγωτός zugōtos "joined" or "yoked"
Many species feed on C. nivalis, including protozoans such as ciliates, rotifers, nematodes, ice worms and springtails. Protozoa (in Greek πρῶτον proton "first" and ζῷα zoia "animals" are unicellular Eukaryotes (singular The ciliates are one of the most important groups of Protists common almost everywhere there is water — lakes ponds oceans rivers and soils with many ectosymbiotic The rotifers make up a Phylum of microscopic and near-microscopic pseudocoelomate Animals They were first described by Rev The nematodes or roundworms ( Phylum Nematoda from Greek (nema "thread" + -ode "like" are one of the most common Ice worm refers to any of a number of species of worm that live in glacial ice, such as Mesenchytraeus solifugus, M Springtails ( Collembola) form the largest of the three lineages of modern hexapods that are no longer considered Insects (the other two are the