Blue Color Of Japan Snow Likely Due To Radioactive Cesium


The question is, how much cesium?  The photos below were posted on Twitter, and brought to my attention by Iori Mochizuki of Fukushima Diary. 

From Iitate mura, 2/14/2014 


Photo of blue snow originally posted on Twitter
Original Tweet PDF (data-encoded) 
From Chichibu city, Saitama, 2/25/2014: 


Photo of blue snow originally posted on Twitter
Original tweet PDF (data-encoded)
Cesium naturally found only rarely, in certain minerals; it combines readily however, so this occurence does not intuitively reflect its disposition in situations such as are being experienced right now as a consequence of the ongoing, and obscene, environmental catastrophe resulting from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant accident. 

When introduced to the environment, one of the most common compounds that cesium, including radioactive cesium, is likely to form, is cesium chloride, or CsCl. 

Radioactive CsCl glows precisely the above shade of blue, as we can tell by comparison to the type of hospital radiotherapy source that, abandoned and subsequently discovered, led to the Goiânia accident:




The Goiânia accident was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on September 13, 1987, at Goiânia, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, after an old radiotherapy source was stolen from an abandoned hospital site in the city. It was subsequently handled by many people, resulting in four deaths. About 112,000 people were examined for radioactive contamination and 249 were found to have significant levels of radioactive material in or on their body.[1][2] In the cleanup operation, topsoil had to be removed from several sites, and several houses were demolished. All the objects from within those houses were removed and examined. Time magazine has identified the accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters" and the International Atomic Energy Agency called it "one of the world's worst radiological incidents".[3][4]


Here is a picture of the radioactive cesium in such a source.  Such a lovely blue.  The sample below is from a screenshot of a photo on 


Photo via Fundamental Photographs
Cesium is readily uptaken by the water table, more so than other metals it resembles, such as potassium and sodium.  

When water precipitates, the cesium contamination will be, and has been evident.   Visually also, as it seems above.

Cesium fluoresces, or glows, under ultraviolet light.  If someone were to collect some blue snow -- wearing gloves, please -- how much would it look like like this?  More than we would want it to, surely.

Cesium Chloride under black light



Be seeing you.