Orange Goo In Alaska
August 19, 2011 by USA Post
The newanlysis corrected an announcement made last week by Alaska-based scientists from NOAA, which had initially concluded that the material was a conglomerate of microscopic eggs or embryos deposited by some kind of shellfish.
The scientists from the NOAA Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, based in Charleston, South Carolina, had a checkup in a sample sent from Alaska and fungi, determined the material not the product of crustaceans, the agency said.
The material is consistent with the fungal spores that cause the “oxidation”, a disease that infects plants, causing a rust-colored, like them, the NOAA said.
“The spores are unlike others that we and our network of specialists have examined, however, many rust fungi of arctic tundra have not yet been identified,” said Steve Morton, a scientist at NOAA Charleston Laboratory in a statement.
The sticky material first appeared earlier this month in the water off the coast of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village of 400 in the Chukchi Sea coast.
The residents initially feared that the material could be contamination from the mine near Red Dog, the world’s largest producer of zinc. But initial tests showed it was a biological material, and mining waste or petroleum product.
The sticky orange material, which dries into a powder, washed in Kivalina, said Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for the NOAA National Fisheries Service in Alaska.
Speegle said the material was probably harmless.
“Mold is a disease that only affects plants, so there is no cause for alarm,” he said, adding that details of its origin remain a mystery.
“It just has not been a lot of research on rust fungi in the Arctic. This is something we’ve never seen before that we know,” he said.
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