A reddish-orange dust coated cars and buildings in Texas earlier this week, spawning a slew of theories as to its origins and sending residents flocking to car washes.

Texas dust

Dust seen on a car’s windshield in Texas Sunday. (Image source: KTRK-TV/Facebook)

“It was weird; it looked like gold, brown, something, but I don’t know what it is,” J.C. Inestrosa told KTRK-TV Monday.

John Stone compared it to pollen, but he told the news station it’s the wrong time of year for that.

“Maybe some sand from Santa,” Stone joked. “Maybe that’s where it’s coming from.”

KHOU-TV reported some speculation including “a debris trail from a mysterious planet and even dust-spreading UFOs.”

Although it might have looked like dust from Mars, meteorologists have an earthly answer.

“This is probably not an alien born phenomenon, but in fact something closer to Earth,” KHOU Meteorologist Mario Gomez said. “Most likely source is dust that is hurled up in the atmosphere down in Mexico.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, the National Weather Service echoed Gomez’s theory that the dust was picked up in Mexico and came down with the rain over Texas.

Red Dust Blankets Texas Likely From Mexico

Supporting the theory that a weather system picked up the dust from Mexico and dropped it over Texas is this photo from Zacatecas, Mexico, a day or so prior. The photo of the dust storm was sent to KTRK by a viewer. (Image source: KTRK-TV/Facebook)

Watch KTRK-TV’s report about the dust’s likely origins:

Car washes were so busy as a result of the dust that locals were surprised.

“My car was so dirty and I had to come up here, but I was not expecting this. I was not expecting this,” Shantel Perkins told KTRK. “This is the first time I’ve really seen it this packed so coming up here I was pretty much shocked.”

Lawrence Danner told the news station the car wash was “like a club scene.”

(H/T: Daily Mail)