Siberia is an interesting place even at the best of times, and while gold bars, platinum, and diamonds did fall from the sky on one occasion, no one has ever seen anything like the blood rain that poured from the heavens on July 3.
Last Tuesday, in the town of Norilsk, locals spotted bright red rain in a parking lot which appeared to stain cars, with bright puddles that looked more at home on the set of a horror movie than it did on the quiet asphalt streets of this industrial town. With numerous people posting videos and photos of the mysterious blood rain on social media, some of the town’s residents were worried that this could be a sign of the apocalypse, as Live Science reported.
However, the truth of the matter is far more mundane than a biblical prophecy coming true. According to news reports coming from Russia, workers at the Nornickel factory had been in the process of removing iron oxide from both its roof and floor, after which a lid was meant to be placed on the huge heap of rust.
Because this lid was never actually put on the pile, an official from the factory explained that the iron oxide pile mixed with the precipitation and “a gust of wind blew it over the parking lot while the rain caused it to fall.”
Researchers working at the NASA Earth Observatory note that precipitation that looks like blood rain is actually not all that unusual. In 191 BCE, when a similar rain fell, the Roman Senate was so unnerved that they felt they needed to swiftly “sacrifice full-grown victims to whatever gods it seemed proper” to remedy the situation.
Even today, red rains fall from the sky far more frequently than people might think, with most of this rain caused by large dust storms that occur in places like the Sahara Desert. If the winds are strong enough, this dust can be quickly swept away and driven to the Mediterranean and Europe. If a storm is also present and dust with large amounts of iron oxide ends up settling below the clouds, a crimson rain will fall, which is an event that occurs every few years.
While the end of the world may be appealing to some, residents of Norilsk can be comforted in knowing that their blood rain was nothing but a factory mishap, and that Siberia is safe until the next time something exciting falls from the sky.