San Diego's Ocean Glows In The Dark!

By Meera Dolasia on October 5, 2011

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The oceans surrounding the coastal city of San Diego, California are known to be warm, crystal clear and . . . . . . . . Bioluminescent? At least that's what they have been for the last few weeks and the residents seem to be enjoying every moment of it.

Unfortunately, the blue electrifying streak that lights up the oceans at night, is not a sign of aliens landing, but a phenomenon called Red Tides, which occurs periodically along the California coast and many other parts of the world, when certain species of a tiny microscopic organism known as phytoplankton, becomes dominant in the ocean. Normally this occurrence is not very noticeable and lasts for a very short period of time. But this year, it has had an extended run of about three weeks and has also been extra visible.

For reasons that are still a mystery to researchers, these tiny organisms do not light up during the day. Instead, they turn the normally pristine blue ocean waters into a very murky red, brown or purple color (hence the name 'Red Tides')!

However at night, these unappealing-looking organisms become magical with their electrifying blue flashes of light that are caused by a chemical reaction when the cells hit against something. What is currently going on in San Diego is millions of them being jostled against each other by the ocean waves, resulting in brilliant flashes of light, which look incredible against the dark skies.

The best part is that they are not terribly toxic, which means that one can actually swim in the glow-in-the-dark waters! If you happen to live in the area, you can combine this great current event article with a show & tell experiment, by collecting some of the ocean water in a jar and demonstrating it in class - Guaranteed to get you an A+! And if you do, be sure to tell us by adding your comments below.

Resources: signonsandiego.com,wikipedia.org

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858 Comments
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  • H.A.L.1085Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:14 am
    Who saw this amazing...TIDE in San Diego? Wow, I wish I could go with my family.
    • zinzunSunday, June 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm
      holy blazing that is AMAZING!!
      • kkThursday, June 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm
        hahaha
        • sophesterMonday, April 9, 2012 at 10:24 am
          so sickkkk.... this is perfectt for my science report
          • bubblegum2
            bubblegum2Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm
            coolio verys coolio
            • hot perv69Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm
              it felt very good
              • tanvi21
                tanvi21Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 8:13 am
                love this article
                • pp piTuesday, March 13, 2012 at 11:27 am
                  awesome article
                  • richard
                    richardTuesday, February 28, 2012 at 6:28 am
                    I live in San Deigo so I think this is awsome!
                    • tateum12345Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:41 am
                      that is so cool I want to go there
                      • richard
                        richardTuesday, February 28, 2012 at 6:29 am
                        I live there!

                      Vocabulary

                      bioluminescentjostledorganismphenomenonphytoplanktonpristine

                      Geography

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