Anchorage Daily News (July 14, 2009)
"IT'S NOT OIL: No one in the area can recall seeing anything like it before.
"Something big and strange is floating through the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow.
"Hunters from Wainwright first started noticing the stuff sometime probably early last week. It's thick and dark and 'gooey' and is drifting for miles in the cold Arctic waters, according to Gordon Brower with the North Slope Borough's Planning and Community Services Department.
"Brower and other borough officials, joined by the U.S. Coast Guard, flew out to Wainwright to investigate. The agencies found 'globs' of the stuff floating miles offshore Friday and collected samples for testing...."
Samples of the blob have been sent to a lab for testing, but it seems clear that it's not oil: and it's not anything that people have seen in the area. At least, not recently.
The North Slope Borough's Planning and Community Services Department's Brower have a pretty good description of it: "...'From the air it looks brownish with some sheen, but when you get close and put it up on the ice and in the bucket, it's kind of blackish stuff ... (and) has hairy strands on it.'..."
If this were a 1950s low-budget science fiction movie, I'd know what it was, and I'm pretty sure that some people today will jump to conclusions. My guess is that it's natural, nothing new, but not all that common.
Far from 'boring,' my expectation is that whatever this blob is might be a new sort of creature - or maybe the world's biggest hairball.
- "Unknown substance in the Chukchi Sea"
North Slope Borough Planning Department (July 11, 2009) video 1:56