Seeming to come out of an apocalyptic story, strange weather phenomena are happening all over the globe. Though scientifically explained, they still look scary. Ice melting at the poles, more often wildfires and the rapidly changing ecosystems. But at the top stand Siberia with its Black Snow and Blood Rain.


On February 15, The Siberian Times published the “ghostly pictures of dark snowscapes – which should be pristine white”. And indeed, eerie black snow covered a few towns situated in the Siberian region of Kuzbass (Kuznetsk Basin). This is one of the world’s largest coal fields, spanning more than 10,000 square miles, but also the home of 2.6 million people.

The snow was reported to be tainted with black coal dust. This is highly toxic and was released into the atmosphere from the open coal pits, while the factories are improperly maintained. Toxic black snow constantly falls in the area and there are multiple sources that can be tied to this.

One of the officials responsible for the coal plants, said to the local media that the shield that was meant to prevent coal powder from getting out of the factory had malfunctioned. But this is no isolated phenomena and the towns from Kuzbass get their constant share of black snowfall.

The Moscow Times reported that in December 2018, regional authorities of Mysky tried to hide the tainted snow by painting it – literally – using white pigment.

“You can see the stains… It even sticks,” a woman said, having her hands full of the viscous substance.

Vladimir Slivyak, member of the non-profit environmental action group Ecodefense, said to the Guardian:

“It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter. There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it is still there,”. ”

Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis or developing childhood mental disorders. Also, they have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average.


On July 3, 2018, a crimson-colored rain fell over a parking lot in the industrial town of Norilsk. The cars were stained with red powder, while the asphalt looked like a bloodbath. Videos and pictures went viral on social media, as the town had suddenly turned into a “horror movie” – one witness said.

The explanation for this is quite simple – though shocking – as The Siberian Times wrote in an article. The Nornickel Metallurgical Plant officials were scraping huge amounts of iron oxide residues – what we know to be rust – from the factory’s floor and roof, as to improve environmental safety. It seems someone forgot to put a lid over the gathered residue, the wind blew over it and drove it to the parking lot. The falling rain merely mixed with the dust and caused it to fall, covering everything in red.

Red rain falls naturally from time to time, but according to NASA, most of the incidents have their origins in the Sahara Desert, with colorful dust storms that are then carried over Europe by the wind. But this happens only when a lot of iron dioxide is floating amidst the dust in the atmosphere.

There are also written accounts of a similar phenomenon that happened back in 191 B.C. It caused turmoil and hysteria in the Roman Senate, so the priests went on sacrificing full-grown victims to the gods. But at least, back then, there were no factories that would disperse rust into the air.

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