Another day, another bizarre and false claim about “a deep state plot to protect the wealthy elites." The latest conspiracy theory comes from a TikTok trend that’s currently going viral that shows someone holding a flame to a snowball that burns instead of melting.
“You’ll see it’s not melting, and it’s going to burn," states the TikTok user in the video. "Snow don’t burn, snow f**kin’ melts. No water, no dripping, no nothing. If I put this sh*t in the microwave it’s going to start sparking because there’s metal mixed in it.” The video has emerged from Texas, which is currently seeing widescale power outages as snowstorms (which could well be linked to global warming) cause major disruptions.
Extreme weather at latitudes that usually have a mild climate can occur following sudden changes in the weather at the Earth’s poles. In this instance, it was rapid heating above the Arctic that essentially let cold weather leak into the United States. Polar vortexes act like shepherds for extreme weather, keeping the cold air at the highest latitudes. When they get weakened by sudden spikes in temperature, the extreme weather can spread to other locations.
What inspired this individual to pop outside, fetch a snowball and flambé it in the kitchen we may never know, but – and we really can’t stress this enough – it’s just snow. The fact that snow can burn and even blacken when exposed to a flame is undeniably a confusing visual, but there’s a perfectly regular explanation as to why this happens.
Matter can change from a solid to a liquid, or a liquid to a gas, and most people have seen snow melt. Sublimation is a term used to describe the transition of something that skips a step – in this instance, going from a solid to gas. The heat is turning the frozen (solid) water into vapor (gas), which is why no liquid appears.
This isn’t actually the first time this conspiracy theorist party trick has emerged, as back in 2014, people’s interest was piqued by the phenomenon. Explainer videos were released in response, but that didn’t stop the topic from gaining traction on TikTok in this latest installment of “Pin The Conspiracy On The Inanimate Object,”
In case you need further evidence, the makers of this latest video also tried to prove the evidence of metal in the snow by popping a ball in the microwave. The exercise proved to be something of an anticlimax, as rather than sparking as predicted, the ball just got a bit wet like slightly hot snow does. You can’t win ‘em all, I guess
It’s easy to see how the theory evolved, given that Texas freezing over is a discombobulating concept in itself. Add to that the fact that spraying chemicals into the atmosphere has been suggested as a way to combat climate change and you’ve got yourself a cook-at-home recipe for some tin-foil hat thinking. In reality, the agent for tackling global warming centers around a non-toxic calcium carbonate spray that could reflect energy from the sun back into space in a similar way to sea ice, cooling down the Earth.
Science hasn’t quite got round to controlling the weather, unfortunately, but you can make your own icebergs here.