A peculiar, but apparently not all that uncommon natural phenomenon was recently observed by beach goers in California as videos showing ocean waves there emitting a bright blue glow at night started popping up online.
While definitely a spectacular sight, there's actually nothing enigmatic to it as this phenomenon which is caused by bioluminescence emitted by certain species of phytoplankton during an algal bloom event known as red tide.
I got to witness a once in a lifetime phenomenon, bioluminescent algae appeared in the ocean and beaches in California. We ran down to Venice beach, when we arrived this is what we saw! I had to jump in the sea, it was glowing all around me, I literally felt like I was in Avatar! pic.twitter.com/KA43YoGLKA— Louis Cole (@funforlouis) May 7, 2020
Bioluminescent algae appearing on a beach in California pic.twitter.com/FIp52ioiYU— Science is Amazing (@AMAZlNGSCIENCE) May 10, 2020
Bioluminescent waves are incredible gift to the world— Dhruman H Nimbale, IPS (@dhruman39) May 12, 2020
Witnessed along the coast of southern #California, its one of the most Magical Experience!
The presence of Bioluminescent Algae in the Ocean makes this possible!@ScienceMagazine@WorldAndScience pic.twitter.com/Go19OgUgSQ
As Michael Latz, a bioluminescence expert and scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, explained to Newsweek, this year's red tide in California appears especially spectacular.
"The red tide is very large, reaching from Acapulco to the south to Los Angeles to the north," he said. "It is also the strongest in recent history, most likely in the last 50 years."
The event in question seemed to captivate the attention of quite a few social media users.
Swam in it once in Florida. Beautiful and magical— Lucy McGilliwhutty (@mcgilliwhutty) May 10, 2020
Where!?!? I must go 😍😍😍😍😍— mari (@I_vamp) May 10, 2020
Some, however, were quick to point out that the red tide may be rather harmful to marine life.