Hoaxes & Rumors

“Fake Snow” Debunked

“Fake Snow” Debunked

Videos online allegedly prove that “fake snow” has been falling in the U.S. In these videos, demonstrations are offered in which people hold lighters or torches up to recently-fallen snow – which does not immediately melt – but instead turns to soot.

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Fake Snow

Let’s take a look at what is being claimed. A YouTube video demonstrating this effect includes the caption:

I tested it myself! This is some bull! What Kind of Snow doesn’t melt when heat is applied? What kind of snow turns black when heat is applied? Can we say harp…. manmade…. artificial snow… they playing with us/you….

Allegation: Fake Snow “Doesn’t Melt”

Videos such as the one above marvel at snow which does not melt when held up to a flame.

As this website points out, snow is – depending on the temperature – is as little as 5% water in the case of very cold air.

As the flame is held up to the snow, some of the water retreats, or wicks, up into the remaining snow pack, increasing the water density of the remaining snow. During this wicking process, some water may also be lost to evaporation (some suggest sublimation) against the heat of the flame.

Fake Snow “Turns Black”

The “soot” seen on the “fake snow” does not come from the snow, but the flame. It is butane residue from the lighter which leaves the black deposit on the snow, as not 100% of the butane is burned, known as “incomplete combustion.”

More Proof

Note that the video above has disabled any comments, presumably to avoid the large number of commentary which would call the creator out on such bogus claims. You can find many videos on YouTube which rather easily debunk the “fake snow” hoax, such as the one below.

Conclusion

These “fake snow” videos are the result of assumption by the creators, based on a lack of understanding of what they are seeing, which includes:

  • A combination of water wicking up into the the remaining ice, along with some evaporation (or some suggest sublimation).
  • Soot and odors observed by incomplete combustion of the butane.

Not convinced? You can perform your own test by simply placing snow in a bowl and putting it in the microwave. We are quite certain that you will find nothing but a bowl of water when the buzzer sounds.

This hoax is easily debunked.

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