Russian officials aren’t sure why this river turned the color of blood.
No, this isn’t a scene out of a horror movie, this is the Daldykan River. Right now, it’s not clear why the Russian river, located around the Arctic Circle, has suddenly changed its hue, but there are at least two theories. Located near the city of Norilsk, many worry that the cause may be heavy industrial pollution from the city’s factories.
The Russian Environmental Ministry is investigating a local mining and smelting company, Norilsk Nikel, in connection. Officials are worried there may be a leak in the company’s waste pipes. In response, the company sent a statement to National Geographic, saying they could not confirm a leak was responsible for the river’s current state.
Locals, however, have weighed in on social media, also pointing the finger at factory contamination. It was actually social media posts that first alerted the Russian Environmental Ministry to the problem.
ABC News Reports that according to the locals, this isn’t the first time something has taken an unnatural red color in the area. One local reservoir has apparently earned the nickname the “Red Sea” because of its occasional discoloration.
“In the winter, the snow’s also red,” Evgeny Belikov commented on social media. “On the one hand, it’s beautiful, but on the other, it’s chemical.”
While pollution seems a likely cause of this strange event, there is a possibility that it’s something else. Iron naturally occurs in large quantities in the area. Run-off from hillsides may possibly explain why the river occasionally takes on a rusty color.
For now, the locals and factory owners will have to wait to see what the Russian Environmental Ministry’s investigation turns up.