Don't Eat the Red Snow

Psalm 147:16-17
“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; He casts out His hail like morsels; who can stand before His cold?”

Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle wrote about red snow. Today, red, orange and even green snow has been found on every continent. It is typically found in deep mountain snows in the late spring. The snow color is caused by any of 350 species of strange snow algae.

The pigments inside the resting algae cysts produce the colors. Even while resting in the nutrient- poor, highly acidic snow the cysts are photosynthesizing. In its cyst form the algae can live even in temperatures of -94°F. As the snow melts in the late mountain spring, the cysts burst open. A single cell with two whip-like tails emerges. It then begins to swim upward, against the draining water from the snow above. At this time of the year, the snow melt water can reach the same acidity as a peat bog, which causes death to most microbes. Those that manage to swim through the snow mate and then return to the cyst stage. These cysts then settle to the ground as the snow melts to remain inactive until the next spring. Researchers have found that the algae have unique fatty acids that enable them to remain flexible in the cold environment in which they spend their entire active lives.

Snow algae have been uniquely designed by God to make a living in some of the lowest temperatures on Earth. If our Creator can find a way to enable snow algae to flourish in these conditions, He can find a way to help us out of the most impossible circumstances.

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust Your wisdom to solve my problems. Amen.

Notes: Science News, 5/20/00, pp. 328-330, "Red Snow, Green Snow."

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