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The Mysterious Pink Snow
The Mysterious Pink Snow
One morning after a snowstorm, the morning shift at Allied Chemical was greeted in the parking lot by pink snow. What caused this strange event?
Mysteries of Science

Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
Transcript
One morning in Buffalo NY after a snow storm the morning shift at Allied Chemical was greeted in the parking lot by pink snow. The employees at first thought someone was playing a joke, but the pink snow went on as far as they could see. As it turned out the pink snow was fairly localized covering about half a mile.

There were two theories, either it was sprayed by an aircraft or it was caused by one of the company's own dye products.

The latter theory seemed more likely so they decided to check the dye plant.

The timing was pinned down to the third shift. A guard had seen white snow at midnight, but at 8:00 am the following morning it was pink.

What caused the pink snow? Was Allied Chemicals' red dye the culprit?

Here's the rest of the story.

Several red dyes were made at a plant, but pink could simply be the result of diluted red dye.v There was a red liquid puddle on the floor near one of the new reactor vessels. The liquid had apparently dripped down a pipe from the ceiling. There was a 4 inch pipe that was connected to the top of the reactor and exited through the roof. Pressure reactors have safety blow outs or some type of pop valve, just like hot water heaters.

On the night in question, the reactor safety valve tripped, and sent a spray of red dye up the pipe and out into the air. A strong wind atomized the spray and carried it a good distance. So if you encounter pink snow in Buffalo, it's probably red food dye number 2.
Reader Comment

Nothing against Pink Snow but my Granddaughter would much prefer Purple her favorite color. Her room is even purple, everything.

Randy Bock Sr.
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