It sounds something that you might expect to fall on Halloween but blood rain is a lot less gruesome than you might expect. This weather phenomenon does not happen often but when it does it can be spectacular to witness.
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Things you need
- An umbrella, and maybe a bucket and spade!
Boiled down to its very basics, blood rain is simply rain mixed with dust. It can occur when red dust from the Sahara Desert is blown towards Europe and mixes with rain causing red coloured raindrops to fall over the UK and the rest of Northern Europe. Winds from the south can be strong enough to carry large amounts of dusty red sand.
Although it is rare it has been recorded throughout history. In 685 AD the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle noted "there was a bloody rain in Britain." But the phenomenon has been recorded as far back as 800 years BC, by Homer's Iliad.
In the 19th Century, the Berlin Academy carried out studies with red dust mixed with water to recreate the "blood rain." The Dictionary of Science and Technology states that the red colour of the dust comes from the presence of iron oxide.