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Red rain: What causes this rare phenomenon and where has it been reported?

Red rain, also known as blood rain is a rare phenomenon where water falling from the sky in the form of rain has a peculiar red tinge. Red rain phenomena have been recorded throughout history.

For centuries scientists have been trying to find out the causes for blood rain. According to them, the red-coloured rainfall is caused due to dust, spores or aurora affecting light conditions.

UK Met Office explained the phenomenon: “While it may sound like something you might see as the world ends; blood rain is actually a term used for a more harmless spectacle which sees red-coloured rain falling from the sky.

“It’s understood that blood rain occurs when relatively high concentration of red coloured dust or particles get mixed into rain, giving it a red appearance as it falls.

“Blood rain is not actually a meteorological or scientific term – instead it’s a colloquial phrase which can be found going a fair way back in history.”

Places where was red rain was reported

Red rain was observed in the southern Indian state of Kerala from 25 July to 23 September 2001. Eye-witnesses reported that the blood showers were often accompanied by loud thunderclaps and flashes of lighting.

While the coloration of the rain was mostly observed to be blood red, some people also reported seeing green, black and even yellow rain as well.

A similar incident occurred in Zamora, a city in northwestern Spain. People from the city and its surrounding witnessed blood rain falling from the sky. scientists at Spain’s University of Salamanca worked on a sample of collected rainwater and discovered that green microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis was the reason behind the red rain. Microalgae is capable of producing a red carotene pigment called astaxanthin when in a state of stress.

Blood rain pouring was also observed in a remote Siberian city in Russia. However, researchers exposed another cause behind this reddish coloured water; the rain was caused by a clean-up operation on the factory floor of the local Nadezhdinsky processing plant. The red shower was caused when vast amounts of rust (red iron oxide residue), was scraped off the factory’s floor.

Red rain is not the only phenomenon where rainfall takes a bizarre form. Frogs, fish, snakes, stones, meat or even maggots have occasionally been reported falling from the sky alongside water droplets, around the world.

In early 2015, a strange, milky rain fell on parts of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, but that’s for another time…

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