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“Green Slime” Is Sure Sign of Spring in Nome

A photo of a snow bank with green liquid on it seeping into the street below in Nome, Alaska.

In many places, budding green leaves are a sure sign of spring. In Nome, locals have for decades looked for a bubbling, slimy, green liquid seeping down Front Street.

During World War 2, airplanes would be loaded with canisters of green marker dye. In case a plane crashed, the fluorescent green dye would assist in searching for the wreckage and survivors.

After the war ended, the canisters were stored in a Quonset hut on the northern end of Steadman Street. Every year when the snow inside the old hut melts, the powder reacts with water to create a Kool-Aid-like fluorescent green gel. The liquid flows out of the hut, down Steadman and Front Street, and eventually into the Bering Sea.

Over the years, the renown of the Green Slime has grown. School children praise it in hometown poetry each spring. Some determined storytellers claim it even works as shark repellant. Whether all the stories about the slime are true or not, it shows Nomeites’ love of a good tall tale!

Image at top: Fluorescent green snow and mud flows down Steadman Street.

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

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