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COSI Worker Explains Black Snowball Videos

COLUMBUS (Adam Slinger/Ken Hines) -- People have come up with a host of reasons to explain why snowballs are seemingly burning instead of melting when exposed to flames, but a COSI scientist says the answer is relatively simple.

Images and videos of snowballs turning black and appearing to burn when people hold lighters to them are all over the Internet, leading to accusations of fake or polluted snow -- and even government conspiracies.

However, the actual explanation for the phenomenon is much more mundane, according to Ty Owen, the Manager of Technology and Innovation Programs at COSI.

The snow is starting to melt, but its absorbing that water back into the snowball," Owen said. "It does look like the snow is burning, but it's soot."

Owen told ABC 6/FOX 28 the residue from the fuel of the flame, in this case lighter fluid, was the likely reason for the soot.

Owen also points out that similar actions would have produced the same results in the past.

"The composition of snow hasn't changed," he said.
 
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