Chennai: Beach goers were in for a pleasant surprise as they witnessed rare sea sparkle at Elliots Beach in Besant Nagar on Sunday night. Many rushed to the beach to catch a glimpse of the bluish waves hitting the shore.
The colourful looking waves were also noticed in several parts of ECR coastline including Kovalam and Injambakkam beach. Photos and videos of the sparking waves hitting the shore went viral in the social media.
As a spectacle this was quite different from the daily night fireworks at temple festivals in the month of Aadi that just got over. This was a show of colour in the water and as the news spread, more and more people turned up to see the ‘Blue Sea’ lighting up the scene as it kept coming in waves to the shore.
Marine experts were the ones to turn to solve the mystery of this spectacle. They were quick to point out that the magical glow may have been caused by a high concentration of a micro-plankton called ‘Noctiluca scintillans’ in the sea.
The blue glow, is known as ‘bioluminescence’ and caused by Noctiluca Scintillans, which converts their chemical energy into light energy when washed ashore or disturbed. This is not good for marine ecology but the spectators were unaware as they came out in droves to see the sparkling sea.
These blooms could also be linked to massive fish kills following release of ammonia.
The organisms glow a bright blue when disturbed at night. They bloom in areas when there is oxygen deficiency, and high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. This could be bad news for the larger marine food web. The phenomenon could be an indicator of pollution in the sea, the experts said.