Monday, July 20, 2009

Chukchi Blob: It's Algae (No Space Aliens, Alas!)

"Black goop afloat off Arctic coast identified as algae"
Alaska Daily News (July 16, 2009)
"ALGAE: Still, experts don't know why there's so much of it.

"A sample of the giant black mystery blob that Wainwright hunters discovered this month floating in the Chukchi Sea has been identified.

"It looks to be a stringy batch of algae. Not bunker oil seeping from an aging, sunken ship. Not a sea monster.

" 'We got the results back from the lab today,' said Ed Meggert of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Fairbanks. 'It was marine algae.'..."

This article in the Anchorage Daily news includes a dialog with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks's Institute of Marine Science's director, Terry Whitledge. He hasn't seen the blob in person, but he's seen photos of it: and concluded that it's stringy algae.

Somewhat more to the point, the Department of Environmental Conservation lab in Anchorage says it's algae, too: and they had a sample of the blob to examine.

Algae? Stringy Algae?! No Mutant Monsters? No Secret Government Labs? No Space Aliens?

The Chukchi Blob had so much promise: a miles-long, hairy thing that was entangling - and possibly eating - jellyfish and birds; biding its time, perhaps, before making a light lunch of Nome and moving on to devastate Anchorage. Maybe it was the first wave of a space-alien invasion. Or a mutant monster that escaped from the secret lab that [name of your favorite conspirator here] has hidden up in the frozen north.

(That's really why 'They' have all that north shore drilling: it's a cover for the [name of your favorite conspirator here] operation.)

And, no: I don't really think so.

The Chukchi Blob is still satisfactorily mysterious, even if it has been identified as the result (probably) of an algae bloom. We don't know where it came from, why it's so big, and why people who live in that part of the world (yes, northern Alaska is inhabited) haven't seen anything like it in recent years.

More-or-less related posts: About Eyewitness testimony:

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