Letter | Published:

The Recent “Blood Rains”

Nature volume 63, pages 514515 (28 March 1901) | Download Citation



THE quantity of dust carried over to Europe by winds from the African Continent during the present month seems to have been unusually great, for traces of the “blood-rain” are said to have been noticed as far north as Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, while, in most cases, such phenomena are confined to the countries immediately bordering the Mediterranean. My colleague, Prof. A. W. Rücker, who has been staying at Taormina, in Sicily, has forwarded to me some very interesting observations which he has made on the subject. Writing on March 12, he says: “We have had a rather curious phenomenon here. The sirocco was blowing, and the hills were wrapt in mist, but the fog assumed a yellow hue, and the sun, which at times could be seen through it, was a bright blue. This was caused and accompanied by a copious fall of red dust. Some which I shook off my hat was quite dry, and on looking at it through a low-power lens all the granules seemed to be spherical, except a very few grains of what looked like quartz. Of course, the question was raised whether Etna was ejecting something which corresponded to the Krakatoa dust, but this was negatived by the fact that the Italian papers state that the dust fell also at Naples and Palermo in such quantity that the streets looked red and the people were frightened. I scraped some off a marble table which I send you.”

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  1. Royal College of Science.

    • J. W. JUDD


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