1889, April 3: Black Snow Falls in New York State, USA

On April 3, 1889, black snow fell in New York state in the United States. During a general snowfall throughout the northern part of the state, for a short time, snow of an abnormally dark color fell over the counties of Lewis, Herkimer, Franklin, and Essex, covering an area stretching 112 miles by 30 miles in a northeasterly direction. The black snow fell over these area soon after the center of the storm passed them by, and the snow was of its darkest color in the Lewis area where a pan full of the snow, when melted, gave a teaspoonful of what was described as "very fine ashes." In some areas, up to 1/2 inch of black snow fell, clearly visible upon the preceeding layer of white snow.

        When looked at under a microscope it was determined the sediment resembled "finely divided earth," which seems to mean by implication an extremely powdery dirt. Comparisons showed that it definitely wasn't ashes, and there had been no forest fires that could have produced enough for the area. The final verdit was that a whirlwind had excavated dirt from somewhere, the larger particles being lost early, and the finer particles eventually being trapped in the snow as it formed and fell.

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