As America's midwest is inundated with snowstorms and winter weather, the summer along Australia's Queenland's Gold and Sunshine coasts have brought with it monstrous amounts of seafoam, that normally majestic and stereotypical symbol of the ocean. Periodic seafoam inundation is not altogether uncommon for beaches, but the sheer amount of foam this week is far beyond the norm.
|A citizen 'drowns' in seafoam recently washed ashore in Australia. [Photo: WPTV.com]|
The barage of foam was released due to recent tropical storms in the area, and is now coating several towns. Citizens appear to be enjoying the event, but the foam can be an inconvenience as it is up to 9 feet high in some areas.
So that brings us to the question, what is seafoam? Not many people have actually considered the question fully. The answer is not quite as majestic as one may think...
Seafoam is in fact caused by billions of dead microalgae, called diatoms, which decompose and cause the frothy texture.
|Diatoms under a microscope|
|Diagram of a surfactant bonding with grease in water. [Erraus.com.au]|
|Dinoflagellates under a scanning electron microscope.|
|A glowing shoreline caused by a dinoflagellate bloom. [Photo: asknature.com]|