Confusing Colours


Nov 03, 2014 by Smart Blog

Certain things in life are quite predictable. The sky, water and the sea are blue, blood is red and sand is golden. Right? Well, not always. Here are some examples of exceptionally coloured objects that do not look quite as you might expect them to.


Wondrous Waters

What could be more striking than the crystal clear flow of a natural waterfall? Well, in short, Blood Falls in eastern Antarctica. This huge waterfall, which flows from the Taylor Glacier and was first discovered in 1911, disgorges vast amounts of blood-red water, which looks - as the waterfall's name would suggest - very much like blood.

The water that feeds Blood Falls contains a fascinating colony of microbes, which were first trapped beneath the ice millions of years ago, and has a high iron content - which is what gives the water its crimson colour.

In sharp contrast, the 'blue lagoon' of Buxton, Derbyshire used to look incredibly inviting in a much more conventional way: its turquoise-green water was the result of the local limestone rocks. So beautiful was this water that locals and visitors alike flocked to see and to swim in it. Which was somewhat unfortunate, since the ‘lagoon’ was formed in an area formerly used for quarrying, and the chemicals used in that process had left it with a PH of 11.3, which is similar to that of ammonia? Furthermore, over time the water filled with all manner of rubbish, including dumped cars. Hardly a safe place to swim.

The local authorities declared the water too dangerous and polluted to drain, so in June 2013 they took an unconventional approach to keeping people out of the water. They dyed the 'blue lagoon' an inky black colour. So far, reports suggest, this tactic is working.


Colourful Sands

While most sand is the standard golden colour, in some places - especially where there has been volcanic activity - it can be white, black, dark red and even green. Beaches with coloured sand can be found in Santorini, Greece and in Hawaii.

Some beaches, such as Harbour Island in The Bahamas, have pink sand, but this is due to the presence of a coral reef rather than a volcano. The pink comes from the remnants of creatures that lived within the reef.

Some sand simply defies adequate description. The Seven Coloured Earths (also known as the Seven Coloured Dunes) is a group of sand dunes in Chamarel, Mauritius. The dunes display shades of red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. Some observers claim that the dunes do not seem to erode, which is odd given that they are exposed to heavy and frequent rainfall. These dunes are also the result of volcanic activity, and were formed when lava turned into clay minerals. Unsurprisingly, they are a huge tourist attraction.


Blue Blood

Not all blood is red. Octopuses have blue blood, which is blue because it contains a copper-rich protein. The green-blooded skink, meanwhile, really does have green blood - and bones.