Bad Science Meets Conspiracy Theory in ‘Burning Snow’ Videos

About.com‘s Urban Legends page debunks the burning snow videos that have been making the rounds of the usual sites of late:

Several videos have cropped up on YouTube documenting a “weird phenomenon” variously described as “burning snow,” “fake snow,” “chemical snow,” and “snow that won’t melt.” The videos show people holding cigarette lighters and blowtorches up to a handful of snow and remarking on how the latter seemingly blackens and “burns like plastic” instead of melting, all the while giving off a “chemical odor.”

As is the fashion these days, some folks are resorting to conspiracy theories in lieu of science to explain the phenomenon, the result being one big Internet freak-out over supposed government-backed weather manipulation (“geo-engineering”), chemtrail fallout, nanobot invasions, and HAARP attacks (I even found one article using the term “false flag”).

On the other hand, there’s plain old, ordinary physics. If you take a blowtorch to snow (which is more air than water in the first place), some of the frozen H2O is simply going to evaporate. Ditto if you use a lighter, albeit on a smaller scale. What doesn’t immediately evaporate has to melt, but may not appear to be melting initially because, explains Metabunk.org founder Mick West

[continues at About.com]

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  • tibby trillz

    chemical smell =map gas

  • Gjallarbru

    Oh, geez, snow that is porous enough to absorb any water that melts around it, that is the baddest conspiracy. The guy musn’t have been living in the north for very long, or he isn’t very observant. There’s nothing wrong with the snow these days, aside from still having to shovel it out of your driveway.

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