Last summer the alarms sounded when the snow of the Italian Alps appeared tinged with pink, as if a mythological beast had bled its war wound, something like that.
It was not a new thing, because the phenomenon of pink snow has been occurring since the world is world. Without going any further, in 1818, the members of the expedition through the Arctic led by the Scottish naturalist John Ross, when crossing Cape York -the northwest coast of Greenland- observed how the white cliffs presented “bloodstains”. This was reflected in his diary by John Ross himself, who took some samples and took them to England to be studied.
At first there was much speculation about the origin of this phenomenon. The possibility that the reddish tint of the snow was given by the oxidation of the rocks on which it was based was considered, it was even said that it was due to the oxidation of meteorites. To say it is not that in the London times they echoed the news and, not exempt from literary figures, pointed out that the snow was as dark a red as that of red wine.
The Austrian botanist Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826) discovered that the reddish pigment in snow was due to chloroplasts in algae
But it was not until a year later, in 1819, when the Austrian botanist Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826), always aware of the color of his drawings, discovered that the reddish pigment in snow was due to the chloroplasts of algae. To understand us, chloroplasts are the structures contained in the cell cytoplasm of certain organisms and which are responsible for photosynthesis; process by which plants convert inorganic substances into organic substances.
After numerous studies it was discovered that the algae responsible for the reddish tint of snow is a microscopic alga called Chlamydomonas nivalis, but in those times all were speculations about a supernatural phenomenon, or rather, about a real phenomenon, although unknown until then and that astonished Aristotle himself.
In the United States, in the mountainous area of California, and also in the mountains of Colorado, the pink snow is a phenomenon as common as it is evident. It was there that the phenomenon was baptized as Watermelon snow, watermelon snow, and not only because of the color, but because its flavor is similar to that of watermelon, sweet and refreshing. People who have been able to verify this have also been able to verify that the ingestion of reddish snow causes diarrhea. How could it be less, the intestinal alteration is accompanied by watermelon-colored liquid stools.
Algae collect in sun cups, depressions of snow where they absorb heat
But let’s return to the Italian Alps, because last summer the alarms went off and not precisely because of the ignorance of the origin of the reddish tint of the snow, but on the contrary, because of the danger that such a phenomenon entails, since algae accumulate in cups of sunshine, depressions of snow where they absorb heat.
In other words, the Chlamydomonas nivalis It makes the ice melt faster, reducing the albedo or reflectivity of the snow, in such a way that it does not reflect the sun, but absorbs it, thus activating its process to become water. With this, the appearance of the watermelon snow is a phenomenon that comes to comfort the ravages of climate change, an issue that in the case of another era could be exotic, but seen from the present time is sinister. In short, a catastrophe.
The stone ax is a section where Montero GlezWith a will to prose, he exercises his particular siege to scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.