The Pharaoh's Serpent's Never Ending Chemical Reaction Is Always So Gross

By Casey Chan on at

Even though it looks like the devil is reaching through the ground from underneath the Earth to grab a victim, you can’t look away from this apparent alien tentacle snake trying to attack. It’s known as the Pharaoh’s Serpent (or Black Snake firework) and it’s an old science experiment that’s never not amazing to witness.

The disgusting, growing mutant arm coil thing is actually just Mercury thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) getting set on fire.
It starts off as a white power but when heated up, “a rapid exothermic reaction is started which produces a large mass of coiling serpent-like solid.” AKA that’s why there’s an ugly burning snake coming up from the ground.

You can learn more about the science here. [Nile Red via Digg]