Eerie green clouds that floated over the Russian capital on Thursday, prompting wild online rumors, were colored by pollen released by the explosive blooming of birch trees in the capital, emergency officials said.
Photos of unusually colored clouds and even a video of a green wave over an alleged Moscow park appeared on the Internet along with speculation blaming the effect on a chemical plant blast or possibly the upcoming Apocalypse.
The green substance also colored roads, houses and cars across the capital.
But it was really just unusual amounts of pollen released by birches and other trees in and around Moscow, where a period of cold that dragged far into April changed into temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius in the course of the latest week, the city’s branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
The pollen fallout will increase the suffering of people subject to allergy and asthma, but is otherwise harmless, the emergency watchdog said on its website.
Birch pollen can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 meters and stay there for up to a month unless the rain washes it away, said botanist Vladimir Murashov, an expert with Moscow State University. Forecasts promised sunny weather in Moscow throughout the remainder of the week.