For a river known as the “golden watercourse,” red is a strange color to see.
Yet that’s the shade turning up in the Yangtze River and officials have no idea why.
The red began appearing in the Yangtze, the longest and largest river in China and the third longest river in the world, yesterday near the city of Chongquing, where the Yangtze connects to the Jialin River.
While the river’s red coloring was most pronounced near Chongqing it was also reported at several other points.
Tip: @P_Trussel and @matthetube via Twitter
This occasionally does happen. In February, the Beirut river turned red. And last December, another river in China had the same situation. That turned out to be a release of red dye. The Yangze is much bigger but the likely culprit is an illegal release of contaminants. They probably are not harmful to health (it takes only a very small amount of dye to make an impact visually), or it could be acid drainage or algae. We’ll keep an eye out for the results of the investigation.