Why is snow white?

Download
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

Listen to hear the answer.

Details

Episode Number: 35

Date Taken:

Location Taken: US

Transcript

[music fades in]

Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Let's get right to it, today's question is:

Why is snow white?

Light does not penetrate into snow very far before being scattered back to the viewer, which is why it's white. However, the next time you are in an igloo, notice that it is blue inside. You can also poke a stick into some snow, shade the area around the hole, and look deep into the snowpack. The light that has traveled some distance through the snow will be enhanced in blue.

And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to usgs.gov/podcasts. We are happily accepting your science questions, so if you're curious about something that we can answer, send us an email at corefacts@usgs.gov or leave a voicemail at 703-648-5600, long distance fees apply.

The USGS CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

[music fades out]