Orange snow transforms eastern Europe into 'Mars'

Mars trip 2018
The planet Mars is shown May 12, 2016 in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope view taken May 12, 2016 when it was 50 million miles from Earth. Earth's neighbor planet makes its closest approach in a decade this month, providing sky-watchers with a celestial show from dusk to dawn. Reuters

Dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara desert is causing snow in eastern Europe to turn orange, transforming the mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania into Mars-like landscapes, the media reported on Monday.

The unusual scenes were believed to be created by a mix of sand, dust and pollen particles stirred up and swept across from storms in northern Africa, the Guardian reported.

According to meteorologists, the phenomenon occurs roughly every five years.

Steven Keates, a weather forecaster at the UK's Met Office, told the Independent:

"As the sand gets lifted to the upper levels of the atmosphere, it gets distributed elsewhere.

"Looking at satellite imagery from NASA, it shows a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean."

Skiers and snowboarders posted photographs on Instagram and Twitter that showed orange scenes.

An image captured at Russia's Sochi ski resort, depicts unfazed skiers gliding down tangerine slopes under an orange-tinted sky.

One person wrote "Martian landscape, Apocalypse Now."

It is not the first time eastern Europeans have experienced an eerie snow-tint, reports the Guardian.

A similar phenomenon occurred in 2007 when mysterious "oily" orange snow fell across three regions of southern Siberia. (IANS)