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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Watermelon snow

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avatar Watermelon snow
March 31, 2012 12:21PM
Watermelon snow, also called snow algae, red snow, or blood snow, is snow that is reddish or pink in color, with the slight scent of a fresh watermelon. 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. Unlike most species of fresh-water algae, it is cryophilic (cold-loving) and thrives in freezing water.[1] Its specific epithet, nivalis, is from Latin and refers to snow. This type of snow is common during the summer in alpine and coastal polar regions worldwide, such as the Sierra Nevada of California. 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.

avatar Re: Watermelon snow
April 01, 2012 01:43PM
For the past several years I've seen a patch of this, inside the Park, on the uphill side of Tigoa Road about a mile before the entrance station.
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