The Inland Northwest is used to precipitation in February, but not the kind that fell on Feb. 6, 2015.

That Friday morning, a mysterious milky rain began to fall in parts of Eastern Washington, including here in Spokane, and northeast Oregon. It left a chalky sheen on cars and windshields, people’s coats and along roadside curbs.

And it was a mystery that took weeks to solve. Theories ranged from ash blown by a volcanic eruption in Russia and another in Mexico, a Nevada dust storm and ashy particles from burn scars left by Pacific Northwest wildfires that summer.

Ultimately, all of those sources were ruled out, as were aliens and chemtrails. Working with scientists at Washington State University, including a hydrochemist, two geologists and an atmospheric scientist, our group concluded that the source of the milky rain was an ancient saline lake bed in remote Oregon, nearly 500 miles away.

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The Spokesman-Review