The apocalypse has been depicted in a huge variety of ways in popular culture. Tsunamis, earthquakes, meteors, we’ve looked at them all. There’s also quite a morbid fascination a lot of us have with the whole ‘end of days’ kerfuffle. If you’re one of those people, this bizarre story might tickle your fancy.

Between 25 July and 23 September 2001, Kerala witnessed heavy downpours of red coloured rain. The skies bled, and the whole event came to be known as the Kerala red rain phenomenon.


Yeah, pretty hardcore. This wasn’t the work of a pissed of higher being though, as I’m sure several people thought, right before scurrying off to pray for salvation. This whole occurrence has actually happened before. It was apparently first reported in 1896, and has happened several times since then. And since we’re all wondering it anyway – yes, the rain stained a bunch of people’s clothes.   

The red rain was originally thought to be due to colour from a meteor explosion, but further study showed that it was actually due to airborne spores from a local alga.


The Centre for Earth Science Studies initially thought the colour was due to an exploding meteor, but retracted their statement after they found that the particles resembled spores under basic light microscopy evaluation. The red was due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia. Field verification also confirmed that the region had plenty of these lichens. However, nobody knows how exactly the clouds containing algal spores got into Kerala in the first place. 


Others have of course, attributed it to a plethora of things, which tend to start sounding like conspiracy theories once you get into them (and that’s a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down). But for all intents and purposes, if you’re ever just hanging out and it starts raining red, don’t stress, it’s just alga yo!

Featured Image: Aayush Holidays