People are claiming the snow in Texas is fake and part of a US government conspiracy
23 February 2021, 17:01
Is the snow in Texas fake? People think it might all be a government conspiracy because it doesn't seem to melt…
A conspiracy theory that the snow in Texas is fake and part of a sinister plot by the US government has gone viral on TikTok.
Last week, Texas was hit by a devastating storm, called Winter Storm Uri, which caused mass power outages, rolling blackouts and a loss of water supply. At least 58 people sadly died and an estimated 4.3m homes were left without electricity, heating and safe drinking water.
Whilst Texans have been desperately trying to stay warm and dry, the state's Republican senator Ted Cruz chose to escape to Cancun, Mexico.
The US government and President Joe Biden are being blamed for not providing adequate aid for Texas residents, however, they're also being blamed for causing the snow itself (and somehow Bill Gates is involved too...) Some believe there's a massive conspiracy at play and that the snow is actually fake, perhaps even made of plastic, and being generated by the government to punish Texas. Right…
TikTok is full of videos of people noticing that the snow doesn't actually melt when held to a flame. In fact, it leaves a scorch mark when burned. People from other states are also comparing the snow, finding that their "real" snow melts, or they have been hit with fake snow too.
Well, there's actually a scientific reason behind this. When snow is held to a flame it doesn't melt into water, it melts into a vapour (a gas) and therefore it can't be seen. In the videos on social media, the flame is also often not held under the snowball for long enough.
"As the snow melts, the remaining snow absorbs the water. That’s why it doesn’t appear to drip; the snowball becomes a slushball," science writer Phil Plait said in 2014, when the same doubts arose that year when it snowed in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Lots of people made videos showing the snowball not dripping so it looks like it’s not actually melting, but this is a classic case of confirmation bias. They only tested this part way; they didn’t finish the test by letting the snowball actually melt!"
And the black charring? There's a reason for that too. Tandy Grubbs, professor and chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Stetson University, told USA Today: "The formation of black on the snow when the lighter is held under it is due to the incomplete combustion and formation of soot when the lighter fuel is burning.
"Soot would ordinarily not be visible when a lighter is burning in open air, but the snowball, in this case, is acting like a filter, catching and accumulating the black soot particles, which show up quite visibly on the white snow after a few seconds of exposure."
So there you have it. Sorry Texas, the snow is very real.