WHERE DOES THE WHITE GO WHEN THE SNOW MELTS ?
That is an interesting question. What is snow made of?
Water, right? Except it is water frozen in a special
way, by accretion of little bits as the snowflake
drops through the atmosphere, so that snow is pretty
random stuff, compared to ice which is also frozen
water, but which has all the water molecules nicely
lined up which makes it transparent. The randomness
of snow means that when light strikes the snow it
gets scattered in all directions, and all colors are
jumbled up, so when you look at snow all you see is
the jumble, which shows up as white light. When
it melts, it just turns into water (and usually
disappears into the ground) which does not have the
kind of randomness snow has at the level of the
wavelengths of visible light. (Visible light
has wavelengths much longer than the size of molecules).
So, the "white" did not really exist on its own -
it was a property of the arrangement of the water molecules
in snow, and disappears as soon as that arrangement is
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Update: June 2012